Bonner Bridge is how you get across Oregon Inlet in NC. Like I said, hmmm, day before yesterday (I have the OB on my mind after a vacation in Buxton):
Oregon Inlet separates Bodie Island from Hatteras Island in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina [map]. It is the primary gateway to the Atlantic Ocean for a significant portion of the NC commercial fishing fleet and recreational boaters.
Turns out, Bonner Bridge is falling apart and a new bridge is needed. The trouble is that as you finish up your ride on the bridge on Hatteras Island you hit the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (yep, that is an island within an island ... something about a closed inlet).
Like so many refuges in the NWR system, Pea Island is important for wildlife! So, where the new bridge touches Pea Island NWR is an issue:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously had supported a 17.5-mile bridge that bypassed the refuge. But the estimated cost of that bridge had reached $786 million as recently as April.
Some environmental groups continue to support the long bridge across Pamlico Sound.
The bean counters (i.e., the goofs who worry about cost), instead, are in favor of a bridge that doesn't avoid so much ecological mischief:
Another proposal called for a shorter, less expensive bridge. Fish and Wildlife officials opposed that proposal, which also called for relocating N.C. 12 that it cut through a pristine area of the refuge. The estimated cost of just that bridge was about $191 million in April.
The difference in cost, it seems, is several million dollars. The difference in length is about 14 miles[!!!].
So the decision makers punted:
The new bridge will be built adjacent to the current bridge.
And to eliminate any impact to the refuge...Workers will align each end in the same spot Bonner currently rests on Highway 12.
Why didn't I think of that?