Reprinted from the Island Free Press
RODANTHE — Construction on the 2.4-mile “jug-handle” bridge on N.C. 12 is expected to begin in a few weeks, as staging preparations in Rodanthe begin to wind down, and final permits are put into place.
“Prep work is continuing at the staging area, but we should expect to see work begin on the actual bridge itself in a month or so,” said North Carolina Department of Transportation public relations officer Tim Haas. “The staging area is pretty much done, and we are awaiting the very final permits (for the project).”
Construction is to begin on the land-based portions of the bridge before moving out into the open water. Based on the current schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by late 2020.
The bridge will stretch from the southern portion of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to northern Rodanthe, and will bypass the S-turns section of N.C. Highway 12, an area highly susceptible to breaches during storms.
The bridge earned its “jug handle” moniker from its distinctive shape that juts out into the Pamlico Sound before reconnecting with N.C. 12 north of Rodanthe.
NCDOT also proposes building a one-lane roundabout at the end of the existing N.C. 12, and by the relocated N.C. 12 near the refuge.
Traffic is to be maintained on N.C. 12 while the new bridge is built, and once construction is complete, the existing roadway in the refuge will be removed, while the existing section of N.C. 12 in Rodanthe will remain open to provide access to private properties.
The new bridge, along with the Capt. Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island completed in the spring, is considered part of the second phase of the Bonner Bridge replacement project. Staging for the jug handle bridge, or the initial portion of the overall project, began earlier this summer.
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.