DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Repair work was completed Monday on the Bonner Bridge, a section of N.C. 12 that runs across the Oregon Inlet in Dare County.
The $1.2 million project began in late January and aimed at maintaining the bridge’s current level of safety, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation spokesperson Jennifer Heiss.
The work included more than $330,000 to remove loose or deteriorated concrete at 249 spots on the bridge, which were identified as priority areas during the bridge’s most recent inspection.
The larger share of the project’s budget went to replace steel crutch bents originally installed in 1989. The bents run next to the concrete pilings to provide additional support for the bridge. They needed to be replaced because of their exposure to the elements, Heiss said.
The bridge, built in 1963 and now in need of replacement, is a source of controversy in the Outer Banks. NCDOT wants to build a new bridge that would replicate the Bonner and cost about $216 million. Environmental groups, however, have pushed for a plan that would bypass Pea Island Wildlife Refuge Center, resulting in a 17-mile bridge at a cost of $1 billion.
NCDOT and the Southern Environmental Law Center, one of the groups fighting the bridge plan, are still in confidential negotiations, Heiss said Monday.