NC Highway 12

Scott Cahoon, Hatteras Island Phantom Photography

As you stroll out toward the end of the Rodanthe Fishing Pier, it is impossible not to notice that it’s not entirely straight.

It goes a little bit up. It goes a little bit down. The pier jogs a little to the right and left in different places. A few boards are loose, too, and it’s mighty windy. In other words, it’s not perfect, but for Terry Plumblee, being here is a lifelong dream come true.

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

A provision in the proposed budget deal would allow the governor to bypass environmental reviews for road projects along the coast.

It indicates that during a state of emergency, the governor could issue an executive order to waive the required environmental permits to replace state highways along the Atlantic.

The provision is said to be a recourse for municipalities whose sole access to the mainland is a state highway.

A screenshot captured Saturday at Mirlo Beach near Rodanthe shows the surf advancing on Highway 12.
NCDOT / facebook.com

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $20.3 million contract for beach re-nourishment just north of Rodanthe. The contract is going to the same Illinois dredging company that re-nourished the beach in Nags Head just before Hurricane Irene hit the area in 2011, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, of Illinois.

The new Rodanthe Bridge could go along the current easement for N.C. 12
N.C.D.O.T.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has been planning to put a bridge at Rodanthe for some time. N.C. 12 is particularly susceptible to storm water breaches there, and so a bridge looks like the only way to keep the road viable, long-term.

There are two options for the bridge. Option 1: Go straight through Rodanthe, alongside the current route of N.C. 12. A one lane service road would remain in place to serve the private property alongside the highway.

Option 2: Send the new bridge around Rodanthe, into the Pamlico Sound.

Bonner Bridge
jennyk325 via Flickr Creative Commons

The Bonner Bridge reopened to traffic yesterday afternoon.

Structural safety concerns caused officials to close the bridge on N.C. 12 earlier this month.  However, the North Carolina Department of Transportation engineers deemed the bridge safe for traffic after several sonar scans, driving two test pilings, and multiple inspections over the past week.

The emergency repair work to add more support to the bridge continues.

prius stuck in stand
Oregon Inlet Idiots

When the Bonner Bridge was closed unexpectedly earlier this week, it shocked many Outer Banks residents and tourists. The bridge links the Outer Banks with the mainland. Suddenly it seemed everyone was wondering... How will I do my shopping and my banking? When will the bridge re-open? What will happen next?

Many locals are going to a rather unlikely place to get their news: a Facebook page called Oregon Inlet Idiots. The page was started in 2011 as a place to poke fun at the tourists.

The Bonner Bridge connects Bodie and Hatteras Islands on the Outer Banks
ncdot.org

Phil Beck has heard it all. He's a part time cashier at Marilyn's Deli in Rodanthe. Just about everyone who comes to his register wants to talk about the unexpected closure of the Bonner Bridge. "They want to know an answer, how long is it gonna take [to open the bridge]?  Most of the customers, they ask me 'What do you know?' "

As he spoke by phone, he paused to ring up a customer. "$4.38 please. Oh, no worries, I've got the other penny."

NCDOT

State transportation officials are working to permanently fix N.C. Highway 12 in Dare County. NCDOT officials say they are in the process of hiring a contractor to build a permanent bridge that will resist future washouts.  

Currently, a temporary metal bridge links where the roadway was destroyed by Hurricane Irene last year. 

Secretary Tony Tata said in an agency release that the project will be an important step in offering a reliable route to the Outer Banks for businesses, residents and visitors. 

Lighthouse
Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Backers of maintaining NC 12 along the Outer Banks have a new study to bolster their case.  NC 12 has seen its share of damage as storms shift the sand.  And the price tag to fix the problem could cost millions, if not billions.

Lee Nettles is the Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.  He says the public and the legislature need to know the economic value of Hatteras Island.

NCDOT

State Transportation Department officials have tapped a Mt. Airy company to make repairs to the Bonner Bridge on Highway 12.  The bridge in Dare County which crosses Oregon Inlet will have steel supports called "crutch bends" added to counteract years of sand erosion, or scour, that have weathered the structure. 

Pablo Hernandez, an engineer with the state DOT, says the last time this type of repair was done was more than 20 years ago.

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