The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) broke ground on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge replacement. Originally built in 1963, the Bonner Bridge provides the only highway connection between Hatteras Island and mainland North Carolina.
The new bridge is designed to have a 100-year life span and is scheduled to open to traffic in November 2018. The overall project, including the demolition of the existing bridge, is scheduled to complete in September 2019.
Another benefit of the new bridge is that the high rise will be 3,500 ft long and have seven navigational spans, each averaging approximately 300 ft wide, which will provide more options for navigation under the bridge. Comparatively, the arched high rise of the existing bridge provides for only one navigational span with an opening of 130 ft.
NCDOT began working with the local community, as well as state and federal resource agencies, on plans to replace the existing bridge with a new parallel one in 1989.
After reaching agreement on how and where to build the bridge, a contract was signed in 2011 for the design and construction of the new bridge, but construction was stalled by litigation.
In June 2015, Governor McCrory and NCDOT reached a settlement agreement with the petitioners that allowed the state to move forward with replacing the Bonner Bridge.