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D.O.T. Says Bonner Bridge Could Reopen Next Week

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North Carolina transportation officials say the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks could re-open next week if dredged sand placed around exposed pilings compacts well.

The transportation department said crews performed underwater sonar surveys and divers examined part of the bridge Wednesday.

Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus says the initial indications from the review were better than expected.

Transportation district engineer Jerry Jennings says the bridge could reopen next week or as late as March.

The bridge was closed Dec. 3 because sand was washing away from the bridge supports. A dredge dug 30,000 cubic yards of sand over the weekend from the Oregon Inlet channel and put it around pilings.

An emergency ferry route was set up between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point, a more than two-hour trip.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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Initial dredging work at the closed Bonner Bridge is complete and the state D.O.T. says results look promising.

The 2.7 mile long bridge was closed last Tuesday after sonar inspections discovered scouring around supports at the southern end of the bridge.

But the D.O.T. says it will be several days before it can determine if the dredging efforts were successful. Some 30,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped over the weekend from the main navigation channel to the supports.

The bridge is the only land route for Hatteras Island and residents have been forced to use emergency ferries between Stumpy Sound and Rodanthe.

The D.O.T. says they will perform another dive and sonar survey Wednesday to see if the sand was compacted enough to support the bridge.


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Governor Pat McCrory this morning pledged to get the closed Bonner Bridge re-opened as soon as possible. This as a fifth boat has been added to the emergency ferry route.

The Department of Transportation says dredging in the Oregon Inlet will begin Saturday and take two days if the weather cooperates. It's the first step in fixing a scouring problem that has eaten away sand from several bridge supports.

The bridge, which is the only land route for Hatteras Island, was closed by the state D.O.T. on Tuesday because of safety concerns.

Department of Transportation officials have said reopening the bridge will require fortifying the bridge's support columns and bringing in additional sand.

Since Wednesday, emergency ferries have been running between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe. The Ferry Division says it's now added a fifth boat to that fleet to help alleviate wait times.

McCrory said that the long-term solution is building a new bridge, which has been blocked by lawsuits from environmentalists.


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State officials say dredging is expected to start soon as repairs to the closed Bonner Bridge get under way.

Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Thursday that dredging in the Oregon Inlet is expected to begin Friday and take two days, weather and current permitting.

The dredge will remove sand from the inlet's main irrigation channel and deposit to an area under the bridge, which provides the only road access between Hatteras Island and the mainland.

The state closed the bridge Tuesday after learning the Oregon Inlet has scoured out sand around the base of supports at the southern end. Department of Transportation officials have said reopening the bridge will require fortifying the bridge's support columns and bringing in additional sand.

Governor McCrory will inspect the bridge Friday and then hold a news conference afterwards.

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North Carolina's governor has declared an emergency at the Bonner Bridge, which state officials have closed because they say it's unsafe.

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency Thursday for the bridge and the emergency ferry terminals at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety says the declaration will speed repairs because the state will not have to get the permits that it normally would. Spokeswoman Julia Jarema says it also allows the state to seek federal assistance.

The state closed the 50-year-old bridge Monday after learning the Oregon Inlet has scoured out sand around the base of supports at the southern end. The transportation department has said reopening the bridge will require fortifying the bridge's support columns and bringing in additional sand.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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A South Carolina bridge company has been awarded a $1.6 million contract for emergency repairs to the Bonner Bridge.

Emergency ferries are now operating after the state D.O.T. shut down the bridge because of safety concerns.

The Ferry Division says traffic has been steady, with short to moderate waits at both terminals.

The 2.7 mile long bridge is the only link for Hatteras Island to the mainland. The DOT says it is not expected to re-open until December 31st.

Sonar scanning last week showed scouring concerns, where too much sand had eroded from the support structure.

Carolina Bridge Company and the state are now working together to develop a time frame for the repairs to be completed.

As part of the project, crews will use sandbags and four-foot tall A-jacks to provide support to bridge pilings.

Tata blames environmentalists

Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said Wednesday that efforts to block construction of a replacement bridge are to blame for the current problems.

Tata told a news conference that blame for the delay in replacing the bridge lies with environmental groups who filed a lawsuit. He said opponents to the proposed bridge have no connection to the people or the land of Hatteras Island.

In September, a federal judge approved plans for a parallel span to replace the 50-year-old bridge, rejecting the objections of environmentalists who supported a 17-mile bridge with a price tag of an estimated $1.1 billion.

The Southern Environmental Law Center says the new bridge would cause the same problems that led to the current closure.

Ferry update

Ferries are departing every 90 minutes from Stumpy Point and Rodanthe. The trip will take 2 hours, and there is a maximum capacity of 760 cars each day.

There is no charge for the emergency ferries, and the state has waived tolls for residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, as well as emergency workers and vendors for the Pamlico Sound routes from Ocracoke.

Dare County Emergency Management has now issued a priority loading list for the emergency ferries.

The following vehicles will be given priority loading at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe:

• Dare Transport vehicles with labels on the door
• People with documented medical appointments
• FedEx, UPS, and US Postal Service Vehicles
• Maintenace vehicles for onsite restroom facilities
• Medical transport for pharmaceuticals
• School buses for school events


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The state has closed the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks because of immediate safety concerns.

The DOT says it is not expected to re-open until December 31st.

Sonar scanning last week showed scouring concerns, where too much sand had eroded from the support structure.

NCDOT has declared a state of emergency as a way of expediting the process and steps are already underway to begin repair work as soon as possible.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division began operating its emergency ferry route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe with limited service Tuesday night, and will begin a full schedule of runs on Wednesday.

You can click the related link for a full schedule.

The division will be using four 180-foot River Class vessels to run the route, which takes two hours to complete. Maximum capacity will allow 760 single cars to cross each day, 380 from each side.

The state says all tolls currently in place on the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter and Ocracoke-Cedar Island routes are waived for residents, emergency personnel and vendors while the bridge is closed.

Ferry Division Deputy Director Jed Dixon says, “We know the residents of Hatteras Island are depending on us to be their lifeline, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The bridge was designed to last 30 years when it was built in 1963.


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Inspections of the Bonner Bridge show the only road link to the Hatteras Island portion of the Outer Banks needs immediate repairs.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation did the inspections Friday and Saturday and found the waters in the inlet have scoured out sand around the base of supports at the southern end of the bridge which carries NC Highway 12 to the barrier island.

The DOT is trying to get a contractor to begin the work as soon as possible. Engineers say the bridge is still safe for travel, but will be closely monitored and could be closed if safety becomes an issue.

Officials say they are ready to provide emergency ferry service if the bridge must be closed.

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The D.O.T. says more inspections are being done on the Bonner Bridge, after sonar scanning showed new areas of erosion from bridge supports.

The 2.7 mile long span carries Highway 12 across the Oregon Inlet.

The D.O.T. says routine sonar scanning discovered the additional scouring. Engineers will now conduct more inspections of the bridge Friday and Saturday to make sure the bridge remains safe for traffic.

The state says the bridge, which is monitored on a regular basis, is safe. But, as it is the only route for vehicles to travel between Hatteras Island and the mainland, the D.O.T. says it's already tested emergency ferry ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, if they're needed.

The Bonner Bridge opened in 1963 and only was supposed to last 30 years. Plans for a new bridge have been delayed because of several lawsuits filed in federal court.


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