New Harkers Island Bridge to Open Tuesday

Dec. 11, 2023
The opening of the new bridge is almost a year ahead of its original construction deadline

The new Harkers Island Bridge spanning the Straits will open for traffic on Dec. 12, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly constructed Earl C. Davis Memorial Bridge at 11 a.m. on the mainland side of the bridge. After the ceremony, the bridge will open to vehicular traffic.

The demolition of the old Earl C. Davis Memorial Bridge will not be complete until the winter of 2024.

The opening of the new bridge is almost a year ahead of its original construction deadline which was anticipated to be in late 2024.

The Harkers Island bridge will be the state’s first-ever fully reinforced glass and carbon fiber bridge. The new design, which has been used in other states such as Virginia, Michigan and Florida, will better withstand the highly corrosive coastal environment and greatly extend the longevity of the bridge.

NCDOT partnered with N.C. State University to perform the research behind the new technology. An initial research project was launched in 2013 to investigate the use of non-corroding carbon fiber polymer in concrete bridge elements.

NCDOT has utilized the new technology in other, smaller projects but never at this volume and for this particular kind of structure.

“This is the largest structure using this technology in the state,” NCDOT Division Engineer Jeff Cabaniss said. “It’s going to be a much more resilient bridge. It’s high enough for boat traffic, and there is no steel on the deck, so the corrosive impact of the salt water will be greatly reduced.”

The new bridge replaces a bridge built in 1969 using concrete with steel reinforcement. That bridge replaced one built in 1941 with a short service life of 27 years.



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