Flood-prone N.C. Highway 12 in the Outer Banks can be replaced with a bridge now that federal transportation officials have approved the proposal .
The Federal Highway Administration approved the final environmental document needed for the proposed 2.4-mile bridge over Pamlico Sound connecting the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Rodanthe on Hatteras Island. Gov. Pat McCrory announced the approval Friday.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation will open bids for contracts of design and construction in about a week.
McCrory said the bridge’s “jug handle” design would limit effects on the wildlife refuge and shoreline. After the construction, McCrory said the affected stretch of N.C. 12 would be removed and the land handed over to wildlife refuge.
The design-build contract will allow NCDOT to select a team consisting of both designers and a contractor to build the bridge faster.
N.C. 12 will continue to stay open while the bridge is being built.
It’s unclear when the bridge will be completed.