The Bonner Bridge is in Outer Banks news once again and not in a good way. Emergency inspections revealed that sand in Oregon Inlet had scoured away so much sediment from the foundations that the bridge had to be closed immediately.
Estimates are still preliminary on how long the repair work will take, but initially NCDOT is hoping to get the bridge reopened in 90 days. In the meantime, the Ferry Division of NCDOT will keep things moving, bringing in four ferries to run between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.
To their credit, NCDOT, both the road and ferry divisions, have done an excellent job of keeping things moving in similar situations in the past. Road and bridge repairs have been done quickly under some very trying conditions and the ferries have maintained a tenuous, if inconvenient, lifeline to Hatteras Island.
It is unfortunate that construction on a replacement span that should be well under way is still tied up in litigation. After losing on every one of their arguments in Federal District Court, as we wrote in our blog, Outer Banks Bridge News, the plaintiffs–Southern Environmental Law Center–have appealed the decision and everything is on hold pending the outcome of the appeals case.
The effect on our Brindley Beach property owners will be negligible; all of our properties are well north of Oregon Inlet. If there is any effect it will be a slight opportunity for off-season rentals to visitors who don’t want to add a half hour extra drive time to Stumpy Point and an hour and a half ferry ride to their travel plans.