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.
Crossing the Bonner Bridge is such a memorable part of the vacation road trip to Hatters Island, and somewhat marks the official start to your island vacation! Built in 1963, the bridge has far surpassed its 30-year life expectancy and needs to be replaced as soon as possible to ensure safety and continued access to Hatteras Island. The NC Department of Transportation’s Preferred Alternative plan calls for immediate replacement of the Bonner Bridge.
Two public hearings on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge will be held in Dare County July 6th and 8th to accept public comments on the Environmental Assessment by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) outlining this Preferred Alternative plan.
Warren Judge, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners explained the importance of getting involved now, “This is a crucial time for the future of the Bonner Bridge. We need people to comment at these hearings in support of the new preferred alternative.” He added, “Replacing the Bonner Bridge is an absolute necessity for public safety and for maintaining our transportation lifeline to Hatteras Island.”
Make your voices heard! In addition to these public hearings, on-line and written comments will be accepted until Aug. 9, 2010. Make comments directly to NCDOT at http://www.replacethebridgenow.com/pub_comment_form.php.
The new Preferred Alternative calling for immediate replacement is supported by Dare County, the Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency along with Congressmen Walter Jones, G.K. Butterfield, Howard Coble, and Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan. NC Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight also supports Bonner Bridge replacement and has twice pleaded with President Obama for assistance.
The first public hearing is Tuesday, July 6 at 7:00pm in Manteo at the Dare County Commissioners meeting room on 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive. The second hearing is Thursday, July 8 in Buxton at the Cape Hatteras Elementary School cafeteria on 47500 Middle Ridge Trail. Click here for more information about the hearings.
For more information and details, visit www.replacethebridgeNOW.com.