It’s no secret that the Outer Banks is tied together by a series of bridges. There’s the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge connecting the northern Outer Banks with the rest of the world; the Virginia Dare Bridge connects Manteo with roads from the west; the only way to get to Hatteras Island is via the Bonner Bridge, which, if NCDOT is successful in defending their decision in court, will be replaced with a newer span 300 yards to the west.
And now joining the lineup will be the 2.7 mile Pea Island Bridge spanning the area around the temporary bridge that was put in place when Hurricane Irene created a new inlet–an inlet that has subsequently closed.
Construction is about to begin on the $79.6 million project. Engineers held a planning meeting last Thursday and if the weather holds, construction will begin next week.
The placement of the bridge was predicted in planning documents submitted in the Environmental Impact Statement for the Bonner Bridge. The replacement is two or three years earlier than anticipated, but study authors correctly identified the New Inlet area as inherently unstable.
The contract calls for construction to be completed in 800 days, or a little over two years.
In other Outer Banks bridge news, the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge resurfacing project on the outbound span seems to be on schedule. Before January and February weather forced a halt to work, the project was slightly ahead of schedule. Under any circumstances, the bridge will be ready to be reopened by mid May.