Outer Banks vacationers will have use of replacement Bonner Bridge in 2019
For Western Pennsylvanians who like to vacation in the Outer Banks, there’s some good news out of Dare County, N.C. — home of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Roanoke Island and other tourist destinations.
The three-year project to replace the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which spans the Oregon Inlet between Bodie Island and Hatteras Island, is nearing completion.
On Saturday, state and local officials held a wreath-laying ceremony to open the 2.8-mile, $250 million bridge to pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is expected to open to motor vehicle traffic in March.
The original bridge was completed in 1953 but outlived its life span by 25 years. Plans to replace it started in 1989, but construction did not begin until 2016. The new bridge parallels the old bridge, which will be dismantled and used for reef restoration later this year.
A portion of the old bridge will be retained for use as a fishing pier.
Bonner Bridge is the part of Route 12 that connects Bodie Island and Hatteras Island, giving vacationers an easy way to access Cape Hatteras and other tourist destinations to the south. Otherwise, the only way to get to Hatteras Island is by ferry.
The new bridge is said to have a 100-year life span .
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shuba_trib.