DARE COUNTY, N.C. - The North Carolina Department of Transportation provided an update on the Bonner Bridge replacement project Tuesday morning.
According to North Carolina Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson, the project is still on schedule despite work stopping during Hurricane Matthew.
Two barges associated with the project floated away during the storm and grounded in the storm, but have since been recovered and returned.
Tennyson says they will have to be mindful about that during any future storm.
"We are going to have to make sure that we have all of that completely tied together, but there was no damage to the project from any of that. So there's no really meaningful delay that we can directly attribute to Matthew expect the time to demobilize and demobilize," he stated.
The project is about 15% complete in terms of construction, with 98 pilings already put into the Oregon Inlet. A total of 673 pilings will make up the new bridge.
The bridge is being designed and constructed in five different zones. Construction started with the south and north end approaches and the navigational spans. Once that work is finished, construction will then commence on the sections that will connect each end with the navigation zone, which is the high rise.
The highest portion of the bridge will include seven navigational spans to provide more options for boat traffic. This area is 3,500 feet long and each span will be about 300 feet in width. Right now, there is only one navigational span on the current bridge which is about 130 feet in width.
The replacement bridge is being built just west of the existing structure. It is expected to open to traffic in November 2018, with the overall project being completed in September 2019.
The bridge carries N.C. 12 over the Oregon Inlet and is the only highway link to Hatteras Island.
Replacement of the aging span had been on the books since 1989, but lengthy legal challenges to the project delayed work.
The last legal challenge was resolved in August of 2015, with a groundbreaking on construction for the replacement happening on March 8, 2016.
The new bridge is expected to cost $246 million and will be 2.8 miles long, compared to the current bridge which is 2.4 miles.
NCDOT anticipates the new bridge will have a life span of 100 years.
— Todd Corillo (@ToddCorillo) November 1, 2016