The state Department of Transportation says it will take until early next year to deconstruct the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks.
The new Basnight Bridge over the Oregon Inlet opened to traffic earlier this year. It replaced the decrepit Bonner Bridge, which was built in 1963.
Crews are slowly dismantling nearly three miles worth of concrete, using barges with massive equipment, according to DOT Engineer Adam Venckauskas. They are about 15 percent of the way through the deconstruction.
“We call it a ‘systematic dismantling’ versus ‘demolition’ because the bridge is being saw-cut with concrete saws and hydraulic shears, which is like a concrete, slow-moving guillotine,” said Venckauskas, adding that the concrete is being hauled offshore to fortify artificial reefs.
“All that material is going offshore to four artificial reefs,” Venckauskas said. “Each barge-load is anywhere from 900 to 1,200 tons of material, which is roughly 400 full-size pickups.”