RALEIGH – Drivers traveling between Hatteras Island and the mainland currently pass over a metal bridge that spans the spot where Hurricane Irene sliced through N.C. 12 on Pea Island, but that will soon change. The N.C. Department of Transportation is now in the process of hiring a contractor to replace that temporary bridge with a permanent bridge, which will protect this critical lifeline to the Outer Banks.
“This is an important step forward, because the new bridge will offer reliability to the residents, visitors and businesses that depend on N.C. 12,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “I’m proud of the team who worked for years to turn our short-term fix after Hurricane Irene into a long-term solution.”
NCDOT advertised the contract for construction Wednesday after the Federal Highway Administration signed the final environmental document, called the Record of Decision, for the project, which allows the project to move to the construction phase. The 244-page document details the need to elevate N.C. 12 onto a permanent bridge from just north of the temporary bridge two miles south.
The department worked closely with its federal and state partners on the environmental work required for the project and took into consideration significant public input when determining that building a permanent bridge where the temporary bridge now stands is the best option.
Interested contractors can now place their bids on the project, and NCDOT will award the contract for the work in early December. Construction on the new bridge can begin as early as Jan. 6, 2014, pending receipt of the remaining federal and state permits for which NCDOT has already applied. Traffic is expected to begin traveling across the new bridge by late 2017.
The replacement bridge is part of a comprehensive and carefully studied plan to improve mobility along N.C. 12, which also includes replacing the Bonner Bridge.
For more information on NCDOT’s efforts to strengthen N.C. 12 in the Outer Banks, visit the N.C. 12 webpage, “like” the N.C. 12 Facebook page and follow the N.C. 12 Twitter account.
(Editor’s note: Photos of the temporary bridge are available on the NCDOT Flickr page.)
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NC12 bridge, NC12 long-term solution