The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge reopened Sunday, less than two weeks after it was closed because of safety concerns about severe erosion.
The bridge linking the northern Outer Banks to Hatteras Island via N.C. 12 stopped carrying traffic Dec. 3, the first closure for repairs in 23 years. Motorists were forced to take a two-hour ride aboard emergency ferries between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point. Those ferries were to stop running early this morning, based on need.
Engineers concluded the bridge was safe for traffic after driving two test pilings and conducting sonar scans and inspections, according to a North Carolina Department of Transportation news release. The agency said it was confident that dredge work to deposit 30,000 cubic yards of sand from the Oregon Inlet channel around bridge supports fortified the structure.
Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said in the release that inspections and sonar scans will continue. “If safety becomes a concern again, we will take the appropriate steps to ensure public safety,” he said.
Sigh, not even enough downtime for a field experiment.