State News

Fate of OBX's Bonner Bridge still undecided

Posted March 8, 2010

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

— An environmental group has written President Obama, supporting a 17-mile bridge to replace the old one that crosses the Oregon Inlet.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., reported the Southern Environmental Law Center wrote the president last week, stating its support for the $1 billion design. It would bypass N.C. 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Sen. Marc Basnight wrote Obama last month, urging him to end the bureaucratic gridlock on the project that exists even though two federal agencies favor a plan to build a bridge parallel to the existing one.

The Bonner Bridge was built in 1963 and is in poor condition. State transportation officials say numerous repairs mean it is safe to cross.


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  • Bendal1 Mar 8, 2010


    That's the average daily traffic volumes; peak traffic during the summer is closer to the volume I gave. Even 4800 cars a day would be very difficult to handle by ferry. Like I said, a toll on this bridge makes sense if the permanent residents get an exemption.

  • hp277 Mar 8, 2010

    It's not 15,000 cars a day - not even close. Check the NCDOT traffic counts from 2008 - the number is 4,800 per day.

    4800/day x 365 days/year x 50 year payoff of span = 87.6 million cars. Even a $10 toll that exempts no one won't pay for it.

    For comparison, I-40 in RTP carries 140,000 cars per day. Why are we spending a billion dollars in Dare County??

  • Bendal1 Mar 8, 2010

    Unfortunately a ferry isn't an option; the Bonner Bridge carries about 15000 vehicles daily; that is a LOT of ferry trips, and the route they would have to take is so full of sand bars they can't go straight from one side of the sound to the other.

    I like the idea of tolling the bridge and exempting the permanent residents from having to pay it. An electronic toll system similar to what's proposed for "NC 540" would work, just give the permanent residents one that says "already paid" and let it go. The Outer Banks are a national tourist destination, it's perfectly reasonable to expect everyone to help pay for a bridge to out there.

    Oh, and btw, part of the Outer Banks is most definitely a wildlife refuge. Look at a state map sometime and see what Pea Island is called.

  • batricia1 Mar 8, 2010

    well it would solve 2 problems no more hwy 12 to flood and a new bridge nc will spend that on a new bridge and upgrades to 12

  • jrfergerson Mar 8, 2010

    Why am I not surprised that Senator Basnight has something to do with this! What’s the matter isn’t his sister getting everything she wants off of State Employees yet with her husband having the contract to replinish the sand at Bladhead Island and subcontracting thru Clancy and Theys the new pier in Dare County?

  • DrJ Mar 8, 2010

    I hope one day everyone will realize what Marc Basnight does with our money down in his part of the state. It's not like any of us can vote against him, but people should still know. He doesn't get outrageously expensive projects like this passed all by himself. He needs voting support from other elected Democrats across the state.

  • durham_nc Mar 8, 2010

    west1117722, a 15 cent toll doesn't cut it... 952 years at 7 million visitors a year to save up 1 billion dollars.
    The bridge probably has a life of 50-75 years(?)

  • west1117722 Mar 8, 2010

    why cant there be 10-15 cent tolls like Virginia use to have they raised a lot of money for there highways that way I dont understand North Carolina some times

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Mar 8, 2010

    For a billion bucks we oughta be able to just bring the island closer.

  • lionel89 Mar 8, 2010

    Building a bridge parallel to Bonner Bridge seems like a waste of money for such a densely populated area. Someone needs to research how much it would cost to run a ferry across the span a few times a day. I might actually be cheaper!