Damaged section of the Bonner Bridge after its collapse. Photo Donnie Bowers

Damaged section of the Bonner Bridge after its collapse. Photo Donnie Bowers

After almost two years of accident free work, tragedy has struck the Bonner Bridge demolition project in Oregon Inlet.

On Wednesday, April 14, at approximately 4:25 in the afternoon one of the last sections of the bridge to be demolished collapsed, killing one of the workers. Initial reports indicate at least one other worker has been seriously injured.

The demolition of the Bonner Bridge is the final stage in the Marc C  Basnight Bridge project. The Basnight Bridge replaced the aging Bonner Bridge in 2019. The original plan called for the Bonner Bridge to be dismantled in six to eight months by weather and severe shoaling in Oregon Inlet have slowed the project.

At this point in time the cause of the accident is still unknown. What is known is that in the 24 hours before the collapse, steel sections from the remaining portion of the bridge had been placed on a barge.

What is Known

Pictures of the damaged section seem to show the concrete between two pilings collapsed. That, however, is based on photos of the accident site. There has not yet been an official investigation or experts on the scene to determine what happened.

Because the old Bonner Bridge was in a navigable waterway, Oregon Inlet, the US Department of Labor, OSHA will handle the investigation.

The demolition project calls for the dismantled pieces of the old Bonner Bridge to be taken out to sea and used to create an artificial reef. The original plan called for the material to be used for reefs off the Outer Banks. Shoaling of Oregon Inlet, though forced the barges to use Pamlico Sound and travel south.

When the barges were able to reach the Atlantic Ocean, it was determined that a reef off Portsmouth Island south of Ocracoke was a more efficient use of the barges.

As Brindley Beach Vacations learns more details, we’ll be sure to let our readers know.