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3 months after ceremony, Outer Banks bridge still isn't open

 The Rodanthe Bridge under construction in 2020 in Pamlico Sound, looking toward Rodanthe.
North Carolina Department of Transportation
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The Rodanthe Bridge under construction in 2020 in Pamlico Sound, looking toward Rodanthe.

A new bridge that shifts the main road on North Carolina's Outer Banks off a frequently-flooded section of Hatteras Island still isn't open, three months after officials held a grand opening. State transportation officials blame the holdup on poor-quality pavement markings.

The $155 million Rodanthe bridge has been under construction since 2018. It shifts the road away from Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and into Pamlico Sound in a shape described as a "jughandle." It returns to the island in the town of Rodanthe.

Back in April, the North Carolina Department of Transportation opened the 2.4-mile bridge for a day to walkers, runners and cyclists, and promised cars would soon follow. In early June, officials announced a delay, saying pavement markings by a contractor didn't meet the DOT's quality or reflectivity standards.

Another contractor was hired, but NCDOT spokesman Tim Haas said that "several mechanical issues" are delaying the work.

"The Rodanthe Bridge has not yet opened. The pavement marking subcontractor has experienced several mechanical issues that delayed the removal/repainting of the bridge deck and bridge approaches," Haas said in an email.

Haas said he's not sure when the bridge might open.

"(There's) not a projected date, per se, but as soon as the new paint is down and dry, it will happen pretty quickly, " Haas said.

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David Boraks is a WFAE weekend host and a producer for "Charlotte Talks." He's a veteran Charlotte-area journalist who has worked part-time at WFAE since 2007 and for other outlets including DavidsonNews.net and The Charlotte Observer.
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