RODANTHE, N.C. (WAVY) – A multi-million dollar “jug handle” bridge for N.C. 12 has received final approval from the Federal Highway Administration.
The 2.4-mile-long bridge will extend from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into Rodanthe.
The project has been years in the making, meant to create a long-term solution to keeping vulnerable N.C. 12 open amidst looming threats of storm damage.
“I’m pleased that we are now able to move forward with construction of this critical highway connection that will provide a long-term solution for the residents and visitors of the Outer Banks,” said Governor Pat McCrory in a statement. “This new bridge will eliminate travel disruptions caused by beach erosion and storm breaches that have resulted in access issues at one of the most vulnerable sections of N.C. 12 for years.”
A group of Rodanthe citizens had spent months protesting the project. The Save Our Sound OBX group called the proposal a tax payer rip off.
President Mark Haines told 10 On Your Side that the approval came as “no surprise.” A statement reads:
We anticipated this decision in spite of our strong legal arguments against this expensive and unnecessary 2.4 mile long bridge in Pamlico Sound. Our legal team will be reviewing the Record of Decision document and issuing a prompt and formal response.”
NCDOT will soon award a contract for design and construction. Construction is expected to begin by early 2018.