NAGS HEAD, N.C. (WNCT) – The first piling has been installed in Oregon Inlet that will form part of the foundation of a bridge that will replace the existing Bonner Bridge.
That new bridge will consist of 673 concrete pilings that range in length from 110 feet to 130 feet. If you were to lay them end to end, they would stretch a total of 16.5 miles. That’s just longer than the distance between Oregon Inlet Fishing Center and Rodanthe. Two different sized pilings will be used to form the foundation. Most of the pilings will be 36 inches square, but those used in the marsh, shallow water, and land portions of the new bridge will be round, hollow columns 54 inches in diameter.
The first pilings will be installed in the middle of the bridge where the navigation span will be and are being installed on a slight angle to provide greater stability to support the new bridge. The new bridge is designed to eliminate problems with scour. That occurs when sand washes away from the pilings. Scour has caused safety concerns for the existing Bonner Bridge, forcing the N.C. Department of Transportation to close the bridge entirely in December 2013.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new bridge construction on March 8th.
The project, which includes demolition of the existing Bonner Bridge, is scheduled to be complete in September 2019.
Much of the work is in open water in Oregon Inlet and NCDOT cautions boaters to keep clear of barges and anchor buoys.
“As we lay the foundation of the new Bonner Bridge, we are one step closer to providing a much-needed lifeline between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “This is a great day for the people of the Outer Banks and all of North Carolina as we take a significant step toward better connecting our citizens to jobs, healthcare and recreation.”
For more information on the project, including videos, photos, fact sheets and construction timelines, visit the Bonner Bridge Replacement project webpage.