More than two years after breaking ground, PCL Contruction crews have connected both portions of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project. The 2 1/2-mile bridge will allow motorists to cross Oregon Inlet on North Carolina Highway 12 in the Outer Banks.
The structure had been built from opposite ends, working toward a meeting point. State Transportation Department Engineer Pablo Hernandez said both sides have finally made contact.
"It's really looking like a bridge. It's very continuous," Hernandez said. "You can see the alignment and see how the bridge literally flows across the inlet and the shallow waters and the marsh."
Hernandez said the final girder was laid Monday, and they poured more concrete Tuesday night.
"We finished pouring concrete that actually joins the high-rise portion of our structure, which is what we call the 'navigation unit'," he said. "It's the very iconic portion of the structure that probably everybody's seen in the photographs. With these very large spans, we joined the last section with probably about 18 cubic yards of concrete."
Hernandez said crews still need to install decking, rails and expansion joints before texturizing the surface and pouring asphalt.
"We're striving for having traffic on the structure by the end of the year. Of course, things are very weather dependent, especially as we're moving toward the peak of storm season," he said.
Hernandez said PCL Construction has a game plan to mitigate potential weather challenges.