Tall Pines Bridge as it appeared 45 years ago.

Good news coming out of Southern Shores—the Tall Pine Bridge replacement project is finished. Just about when town official said it would be done too.

The detour signs are down and South Dogwood Trail is open from the light in Kitty Hawk at the Woods Road to East Dogwood Trail. 

That route does show up on every navigation software in existence as a bypass to the bottleneck at US 158 and NC 12 in Kitty Hawk—which is really unfortunate because as a bypass it’s not really all that effective.

The problem is South Dogwood Trail is a twisting, narrow residential street. It’s very pretty—mature trees line the road, sometimes encroaching on the shoulder; there’s a bike path for about the first mile but after it ends, cars share the road with bikers. Bikers, joggers and walkers are a regular part of the mix along the road and there are a number of blind turns and hills.

Adding to the mix that says it’s not a very good alternate route—the route back to NC 12 is not very direct. For residents or regular visitors to the Outer Banks, the roads makes sense . . . first time visitors or once a year vacationers, not so much.

Honesty compels us to admit that when traffic is really backed up coming off the Wright Memorial Bridge in the summer, it probably is a little faster to cut through Southern Shores—unless you get lost. 

We should also point out that Southern Shores police do patrol the road and they’re serious about the 25mph speed limit.