Local News

Bridge Connecting Morehead City to Beaufort Takes a Hit

Posted September 3, 1998

— Everyone expected trouble from Hurricane Bonnie, but the leftover fragments of Earl caused more trouble than anyone expected.

Witnesses say you had to feel it to believe it. It happened at 3 a.m. Friday morning during a storm packing winds of more than 60 miles per hour.

Suddenly, the entire U.S. 70 drawbridge connecting Morehead City and Beaufort jerked as three boats smashed into it.

"When that hit, you would have thought you were in L.A. during an earthquake," bridge personnel supervisor Terry Hyatt explained.

Just looking at the bridge, it is not easy to see any obvious damage. But a closer looks reveals that every other support is angled out. One is angled in.

You can imagine the force it took to pull the three boats off of the dock and into the bridge.

"I started looking around, looking out the windows, checking to see what was going on," Hyatt said. "I looked out the door, and all I could see was the stern of that crawler sitting there, and it was like, yeah, it's right here on me."

Amazingly, the rest of the structure is still safe for travel.Department of Transportationcrews are blocking off a small section, but by Friday night, two narrow lanes will be open for traffic.

You will have to drive slowly this holiday weekend, but you will not have to change any plans for vacation.

"They need to proceed with caution," DOT bridge supervisor Roy Barnette said. "We are going to narrow the roadway. They will have eleven feet in each lane."

Businesses over the bridge in Beaufort are very interested in getting people over into their area during the Labor Day weekend. There are only two good ways to get to Beaufort, and both are open. But the bridge is the main one, and it will take a little while longer to get through.

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