Crossing the Bonner Bridge is the unofficial start to many Hatteras Island vacations. In the summer months, an estimated 11,000 cars cross the Bonner Bridge every day and nearly 2 million cars cross it every year. As the only bridge connecting the northern Outer Banks to Hatteras Island, the 47 year old bridge will be replaced to ensure the continued safety of all travelers. On December 20th, 2010 the Federal Highway Administration issued an official decision to begin work on replacing the 47-year-old Bonner Bridge. The plan is to build the new bridge parallel with the current span, through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is estimated that construction will start in early 2012 and the new bridge could be open to traffic in 2015.