Artist’s rendering of an aerial view of the “Jug Handle.”

It’s called the “jug handle” which is an apt description for what the bridge will look like from the sky.

Recently NCDOT announced a contract had been awarded to build the bridge.

Part of the Bonner Bridge Project, the jug handle is the name of the bridge that will bypass the S Curves just north of Rodanthe. Historically one of the most problematic stretches of NC12 on Pea Island, plans call for the bridge to be 2.4 miles long.

The bridge will bear west about a mile north of Rodanthe, cross the marsh, and parallel the shore in Pamlico Sound, intersecting with what is now NC12 next to the Island Convenience store.

The jug handle solution was part of the negotiated settlement for the Bonner Bridge project between NCDOT and the Southern Environmental Law Center bringing years of litigation to an end.

The S Curves are one of the most unstable areas of Pea Island. The road is currently protected by a beach nourishment project, and NCDOT has indicated they will do whatever is necessary to keep the road open until the new bridge is completed.

According to the information with the announcement of the contract, work will be completed on the project by 2020, one year ahead of schedule.

The winning bid was approximately $145 million.

A replacement for the temporary bridge at New Inlet, north of the jug handle, should be completed by April of this year. The bridge, with a 25 year projected life, is not considered a permanent solution, but does give NCDOT time to do a more thorough study of how to bypass the area.

The Bonner Bridge is slated for completion in the fall of 2018.