Governor McCrory speaking at Bonner Bridge replacement groundbreaking.

Twenty-three years after it was supposed to be replaced, construction on a new Bonner Bridge is finally on the way. If all goes as the planners and engineers for NCDOT hope it will, three years from now a new bridge will be in place and the old one will come down. The only part of the old bridge that will be left standing, will be the walkway and fishing pier on the south end.

The groundbreaking for the new span brought out the local political heavyweights with Governor Pat McCrory and US Representative Walter B. Jones standing at a platform on in the parking lot on the south end of the bridge and telling the 200 or so in attendance what a great day it was for transportation on the Outer Banks.

Governor McCrory seemed particularly effective in his remarks, telling the crowd, “This is personal,” then outlined why the bridge is so important.

“Not having this bridge for the future was going to impact  . . . livelihoods not only for this generation but for future generations,” he said. “It’s personal when you’re talking about economic development for the entire region and the entire state.”

The local representative on the Transportation Board, Malcolm Fearing, has a folksy way of speaking but his remarks seemed to to go to the heart of how important the Bonner Bridge is to the ongoing story of the Outer Banks.

“My dad 50 some years ago stood at the end of this bridge (for the opening ceremony). . .” he said. “Today we are making history.”