Temporary fixes start on current Bonner Bridge; replacement bridge still on hold

Posted at 6:50 PM, Sep 23, 2013

Hatteras Island, N.C. - NCDOT will start work to repair the current Bonner Bridge, connecting Hatteras Island to mainland Dare County, this week.

The concrete replacement work will replace patches of concrete in several identified areas of the bridge. That work is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.

The work comes just one week after a four-foot chunk of concrete fell from the bridge. No one was hurt and NCDOT says the bridge remains safe for travel.

The concrete replacement work is the latest in a series of patch work done to the current Bonner Bridge.

NCDOT has been forced to make repairs on the bridge that they say stands on "borrowed time" rather than start construction on a new bridge. That's because of lawsuits filed by environmental groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Last week, the federal lawsuits were resolved when a judge sided with NCDOT and ruled that construction on the new bridge should be allowed.

However, a battle is still brewing at the state level where similar petitions from the SELC seek to deny environmental permits for the new bridge.

Beth Midgett, who helped start a citizen's action committee for building a new Bonner Bridge in 2006, says enough is enough when it comes to delays on constructing a new bridge.

"It's time to get this thing started and it's time for any legal actions - they need to stop," Midgett explained. "I mean the bridge needs to be replaced - it's a very simple thing, it needs to be replaced."

Midgett describes the Bonner Bridge has a crucial lifeline for those who live and work on Hatteras Island.

"It means everything to us. It's not only the sole means of transportation back and forth to the island but it is how our power comes across to the island, " Midgett explained. "Literally if the bridge were to fail, we have no phones, no electricity, we had no communications and we have no transportation."

Now that the state level petitions could take months or even a year to resolve, Midgett is vowing to ramp up the fight to get the bridge replaced sooner, rather than later.

"We're tired and we are going to start pressing like you've never seen before," Midgett said. "Enough is enough. We're fed up and we're just going to start taking whatever action we have to take."