The 2.4-mile Rodanthe “jug handle” bridge on Hatteras Island opened to vehicular traffic.
The southbound lanes opened at 11:40 a.m. Thursday and the northbound lanes opened around 12:20 p.m., according to North Carolina Department of Transportation officials. NCDOT shared a video on social media of the first vehicles crossing the new bridge.
Often called the “jug-handle” bridge because of its shape, the structure extends over the Pamlico Sound from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to the northern end of Rodanthe.
The bridge allows motorists to bypass the S-Curves, an area of N.C. 12 in northern Rodanthe that is prone to significant ocean overwash and flooding.
Work on the more than $145 million bridge began in January 2018. North Carolina Department of Transportation officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 9 and community day to celebrate the completion of the Rodanthe Bridge.
The bridge was expected to open to traffic earlier this year but there was a delay the first week of June because the pavement markings — the final step in completion — did not meet specifications for quality or reflectivity. A new subcontractor was hired to replace the substandard markings and re-stripe the bridge and the intersections.