'Bridging' the Outer Banks Together
Posted July 8, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
MANTEO — Construction workers are building a new bridge over the Croatan Sound that will connect the mainland to Hatteras, Ocracoke and Bodie Islands.
It is a tremendous effort that will take years to complete, and the builders are coming up with some innovative ways to tackle the job.
The bridge over the Croatan Sound has a long way to go. When it is done, it will be the longest in the state at a staggering five and one-fourth miles.
"There's a lot of work to do in the next two and a half years in order to complete this project. Most of the people that we've got on our work force have done projects this size and nature, just in other states like Virginia and Florida," said John Armeni, project manager.
The giant bridge will funnel motorists around Manteo and straight to Nags Head.
It will take more than 2,000 concrete columns that weigh nearly 70 tons each to make the bridge a reality.
"We're making 2,368 of them for the project, and we turn over anywhere from four to six of them a day during good weather," said Armeni.
The workers are also using a sophisticated rail system to carry supplies over federally protected wetlands and out into the water. This is only the second time it has been used anywhere.
State officials have no plans to tear the current Highway 64 bridge down. In fact, it will stay there indefinitely as long as it is practical to maintain.
The new bridge will make the trip to theOuter Banksa lot easier, but putting it up can be a little intimidating.
"When you get rain days or the weather kicks you behind, you want to know if you're ever going to get those days back. We've had fairly good weather, so we haven't had too many of those to be concerned with," said Armeni.
The price tag in state and federal money for the bridge comes to roughly $89 million.