State officials plan to turn part of the old Chowan River bridge near Edenton into a fishing pier while deciding how to spend 20 million dollars on other waterfront access projects.
The 600-foot bridge section would be the first in a statewide effort to reduce the loss of public access to coastal waterways because of private development.
A 2006 study by N.C. Sea Grant researchers found that 33 percent of the state's fish houses had closed since 2000.
Division of Marine Fisheries director Louis Daniel says it will be a unique way to put former bridges to use for fishermen.
Plans call for adjacent access to be renovated and the 600-foot bridge section to be retrofitted so it is handicapped accessible.
The design is scheduled to be completed by April, and construction would be completed by early 2010.