Traffic moved freely today along the Bonner Bridge for the first time in 12 days. Residents are happy the bridge is open again, but many remain cautious that it could close down again.
Earlier this month the state Department of Transportation shut down the 2.7 mile long span on the Outer Banks because it was discovered several of its supports had protective sand washed away.
The bridge is the only land route to Hatteras Island, so residents and visitors were forced to use emergency ferries that added two hours each way to their trip.
Last week a South Carolina company shored up the supports by pumping sand around the supports.
The state wants to replace the aging span, but environmentalists, who want a longer and more costly bridge to protect sensitive areas, have blocked that replacement in federal court.
Ferries along the North Carolina Outer Banks will resume winter operations after the reopening of the Bonner Bridge.
The transportation department's ferry division said it will resume using its regular winter schedule Tuesday.
The closing of the bridge earlier this month for safety reasons prompted the ferry service to offer emergency operations at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe. That service concluded Monday morning after the bridge reopening late Sunday afternoon.
The regular winter schedule means there will be increased service between Hatteras and Ocracoke. Service will be reduced between Ocracoke and Swan Quarter. There is a slight change in departure times between Ocracoke and Cedar Island.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)