State News

Bonner Bridge reopens to traffic

Posted December 15, 2013

The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge connects Hatteras Island with the mainland.

— The Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks – the only land link to Hatteras Island – reopened Sunday afternoon, 12 days after the North Carolina Department of Transportation, citing "immediate safety concerns," unexpectedly closed it.

The bridge in Dare County was closed Dec. 3 because sand was washing away from the bridge supports.

Engineers have deemed the bridge safe for traffic after several sonar scans, driving two test pilings and multiple inspections over the past week, Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement Sunday afternoon in a statement Sunday afternoon.

"Our experts have closely analyzed all the data, and we are confident that the sand pumped through emergency dredging work last weekend fortified the support structure enough to allow traffic to safely travel on the bridge for now," Tata said.

Earlier this month, the state gave Carolina Bridge Company of Orangeburg, S.C. a $1.6 million contract to place layers of interlocking jacks and sand bags on both sides of part of the bridge. The contract required the work to be done in 90 days.

Last weekend, crews pumped approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand from the Oregon Inlet channel and put it around pilings.

Emergency repair work to add more support to the bridge continues.

"We will continue to closely monitor the bridge through inspections and weekly sonar scans during the emergency repair work," Tata said. "If safety becomes a concern again, we will take the appropriate steps to ensure public safety."

An emergency ferry route, which was set up between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point – a 17-mile trip that takes more than two hours – will continue until Monday morning, the DOT said.

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  • ConservativeVoter Dec 17, 2013

    The hatteras lighthouse was 1500 feet from the water when it was built. It was 120 feet from the water when they moved it 2900 feet further inland.

    The shore moved 1380 feet further west between 1870 and 1999, that's a healthy movement.

    That movement is why the bridge to Hatteras is about to fall into the water.

    If they build a new bridge, we'll be dealing with this issue with the new bridge in 30 years or so.

    They should let sandbars go back to nature and give up this lesson in futility.

  • ConservativeVoter Dec 17, 2013

    Why the Cape Hatteras Light Station Had to be Moved
    When completed in 1870, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse was located a safe 1,500 feet from the ocean. Even then, however, storm-driven tides completely washed over Hatteras Island, eroding sand from the ocean side of the island and depositing it on the sound side. By 1970, this process, which has caused the gradual westward migration of the Outer Banks for at least the past 10,000 years, left the lighthouse just 120 feet from the ocean’s edge and almost certain destruction.

    Notice the comment about the western migration of the outerbanks for at least 10,000 years.

    This came from http://www.nps.gov/caha/historyculture/movingthelighthouse.htm

    The sandbars of the outerbanks are moving westward, they moved 1380 feet since the hatteras lighthouse was initially built.

    Even the government knows the sandbars are moving westward at a fairly healhthy rate based on the 1380 feet the ocean moved towards the lighthouse.

  • ConservativeVoter Dec 17, 2013

    The inlet under the hatteras bridge on nc-12 has been moving. that's part of the problem with the supports under the bridge that needs to be replaced.

    The inlet between figure eight island and wrightsville beach has been moving south, that's why there are sandbags in front of the condo building on wrightsville beach.

    These are just a few of the several examples up and down the coast.

    If the barrier islands weren't moving, we wouldn't have the continual dredging operations along the coast.

  • ConservativeVoter Dec 17, 2013

    "Incorrect, they are in fact islands. They have not moved since Avon was settled in the early 1700's, over 400 years ago.....the village of Hatteras was settled in the early 1800's.
    btneast"

    Then explain why the light house at Hatteras had to be moved along with the homes that keep falling in the ocean as the beach moves west after hurricanes and nor-easters come thru.

  • btneast Dec 16, 2013

    Building homes, bridges, and roads on these sandbars is a lesson in futility.

    Hmmm, tell that to the descendants that can trace their lineage back many generations, many back to the earliest settlers in the 1700's. This area s NOT newly developed beach resort. Sure there has been vacation development, but the overwhelming majority of the residents are hard working middle class people that have been living out there for generations.

  • btneast Dec 16, 2013

    The lighthouse has been moved west several miles from where it was when it was built because the sandbar keeps moving.

    Wrong yet again. It was moved 2900 ft, but a good bit of that move was lateral, not landward. I doubt it moved away from the ocean less than 300-400 ft

  • btneast Dec 16, 2013

    Every time we get a hurricane or nor'easter, the sandbars move.

    That's why beachfront homes fall into the ocean and why NC 12 has to be continually rebuilt.

    Wrong again. The road washes out from over wash, not from the underlying island movement. The over wash has become more frequent because NPS no longer allows DOT to build barrier dunes on the ocean side. When the barrier dunes were present, over wash was infrequent.

  • btneast Dec 16, 2013

    The problem is that the barrier islands aren't islands.

    They are sandbars which have been moving around in the surf and tides for thousands of years.

    Incorrect, they are in fact islands. They have not moved since Avon was settled in the early 1700's, over 400 years ago.....the village of Hatteras was settled in the early 1800's.

  • ConservativeVoter Dec 16, 2013

    The problem is that the barrier islands aren't islands.

    They are sandbars which have been moving around in the surf and tides for thousands of years.

    We made the mistake of tying to anchor the sandbars down by building fixed structures including bridges, homes, and roads.

    Every time we get a hurricane or nor'easter, the sandbars move.

    That's why beachfront homes fall into the ocean and why NC 12 has to be continually rebuilt.

    The lighthouse has been moved west several miles from where it was when it was built because the sandbar keeps moving.

    Building homes, bridges, and roads on these sandbars is a lesson in futility.

    We should take these sandbars back to their natural state and quit wasting our money in a losing battle against mother nature.

  • Riddickfield Dec 16, 2013

    Its time to take a good long look at whether or not we even need to put up a new bridge to a small island. Is it really worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars? Its probably time to abandon the bridge and gain access to the island by boat. One good hurricane and the highway washes away again (along with part of the island) and then the bridge goes to... nowhere.

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