The Federal Highway Administration has given its blessing to the state’s plan to build a bridge to carry part of N.C. 12 out over Pamlico Sound near Rodanthe, clearing the way for the N.C. Department of Transportation to award a contract for design and construction work, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Friday.
The 2.4-mile-long bridge will extend from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the sound into Rodanthe, taking the road off a particularly flood-prone area of the Outer Banks. When construction of the new bridge is complete, the existing roadway in the Pea Island refuge will be removed and the land returned to the refuge, McCrory’s office 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,” McCrory said in a statement.
The new bridge at the south end of the refuge is about 10 miles south of the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet, where work has begun on a new span to carry N.C. 12 between Hatteras Island and the mainland. The new 2.8-mile Bonner Bridge is expected to be completed in November 2018.