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Bonner Bridge To Close Immediately

Bonner Bridge
jennyk325 via Flickr Creative Commons
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Updated 12/4 with video from NCDOT press conference

http://youtu.be/m_eqaj9lBU8

The N.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns.

Routine sonar scans identified areas where the structural support of the bridge has been compromised by sand erosion. NCDOT crews are monitoring the situation, declaring a state of emergency in order to expedite repair.

“Closing the Bonner Bridge is necessary to keep all travelers safe, but we know it will have a devastating effect on the people who live along and visit the Outer Banks,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata in an agency news release. “We will work to safely reopen this vital lifeline quickly, and hope to be able to begin construction on a new bridge as soon as possible.”

The Bonner Bridge is the only highway access connection between Hatteras Island and the mainland.

The press release says: "Ferry Division workers have already tested the emergency ferry ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, and the division is currently sending four 180-foot River Class vessels to begin operating the emergency Hatteras Island route. All tolls currently in place on the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter and Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferry routes will be waived for residents, emergency personnel and vendors while the bridge is closed and the emergency ferry route is in operation. The U.S. Coast Guard is also currently on standby."

It's anticipated that the emergency ferry route will be functional by Wednesday morning.

At full capacity on a full schedule, the route can ferry 760 single cars a day, 380 from each side. A detailed emergency ferry route schedule will be available on the Ferry division website.

The Bonner bridge is 50 years old.  Plans to replace the bridge are currently underway.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Sam Walker, Outer Banks Voice reporter, about the closing of the bridge. Audio for this segment will be up by 3 p.m.

Google Map of the Emergency Ferry Route

View NCDOT NC 12 - Emergency Ferry Route in a larger map

Carol Jackson has been with WUNC since 2006. As Digital News Editor, she writes stories for wunc.org, and helps reporters and hosts make digital versions of their radio stories. She is also responsible for sharing stories on social media. Previously, Carol spent eight years with WUNC's nationally syndicated show The Story with Dick Gordon, serving as Managing Editor and Interim Senior Producer.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
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