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Oregon Inlet dredge will bolster Bonner Bridge, McCrory says

Bonner Bridge provides the only highway access for vehicles from Hatteras Island to mainland NC, but it can close while repairs are made, including a stint of closures late in 2013.
Bonner Bridge provides the only highway access for vehicles from Hatteras Island to mainland NC, but it can close while repairs are made, including a stint of closures late in 2013. 2012 NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

A dredging operation already under way in Oregon Inlet will be shifted Friday to dump the sand around Bonner Bridge supports recently undermined by erosion, Gov. Pat McCrory’s office announced Thursday.

The erosion prompted Transportation Secretary Tony Tata on Tuesday to close the bridge, which provides a highway link to the mainland for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. A dredge had been working nearby recently to dig out shoaling that has damaged the inlet navigation channel.

“The dredge Alaska will soon get to work filling sand in the affected area,” Tata told the Board of Transportation on Thursday. “We’re very fortunate the dredge was just off Oregon Inlet.”

The work will take two days, possibly providing some stability for the bridge before a contractor begins work on a $1.6 million repair contract. DOT officials say they don’t know how long the repairs will take, or how long the bridge will remain closed.

Also Thursday, DOT expanded the emergency ferry schedule between Stumpy Point on the Dare County mainland and Rodanthe on Hatteras Island. Now there are 12 daily round-trips making the run, which takes 2.5 hours each way. Details are online at ncdot.gov/ferry.

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