RODANTHE, N.C. (WAVY) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded a contract to design and build a new bridge for N.C. 12.
The 2.4 mile-long “jug handle” bridge will extend from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into Rodanthe.
Transportation officials say the new bridge is a long-term solution to keep vulnerable N.C. 12 open amidst looming threats of storm damage.
“This critical highway connection is another major milestone for the Outer Banks,” acting transportation secretary Mike Holder said. “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.”
The Federal Highway Administration issued the last environmental document for the project in December, which gives final approval for construction to move forward.
The winning design-build team is Flatiron Constructors, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., who submitted a bid of $145,336,271.
“We are excited that this long-awaited project will finally begin,” said division engineer Jerry Jennings. “It’s great news for the people who live, work and visit the Outer Banks via N.C.12. It’s been a long-time coming and we are anxious to get started.”
Design and permitting is expected to take about a year to complete. Construction will begin afterwards, and could start as early as January 2018.
Based on Flatiron’s schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by early summer 2020, about a year earlier than the NCDOT’s previously anticipated completion date.