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Design Options for Breaches

Bonner Bridge Update Newsletter
Dec. 2013

Bonner Bridge Update Newsletter
Feb. 2013

Project Fast Facts
  • Status: Projects Under Development
  • County: Dare
  • Type of Project: Bridge Construction
  • STIP Number: B-2500 A,B
Related Links
Bonner Bridge Projects


NCDOT is working to provide long-term solutions for the two breaches caused by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 along N.C. 12 on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and in Rodanthe. This work is considered Phase II of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project.

Latest News and Updates

Following a settlement agreement approved in June 2015, lawsuits were officially dropped Aug. 14, 2015, allowing NCDOT to proceed with the replacement of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet with a bridge parallel to the existing bridge. NCDOT will also study long-term options for N.C. 12 south of the Bonner Bridge. A study must be completed within a year and a half of lawsuit dismissals.

Project Background and Purpose

The process to implement long-term solutions for the two breaches on N.C. 12 is a continuation of work already under way as part of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project.

Phase one of the project involves replacing the 2.7-mile bridge over Oregon Inlet, which is currently in the design stage. The project also includes an active coastal monitoring program that uses scientific data to determine what types of improvements are needed on N.C. 12 between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe and when that work will occur.

Using this program, NCDOT is enacting phase two of the project, which will implement long-term solutions for the parts of N.C. 12 damaged by Hurricane Irene. These long-term fixes will replace the temporary fixes put in place immediately after the storm hit to restore traffic to the Outer Banks.

NCDOT met with a panel of coastal engineers and scientists in October 2011 to get their input on the department's future plans for N.C. 12. NCDOT has compiled a report of the key findings and recommendations provided about topics, which include:

  • Changes in the coastal conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene;
  • Potential long-term transportation options for the two breach sites; and
  • Recommendations on future coastal studies for the northern end of Hatteras Island.

The department is using their input to help guide its decision-making process, regarding N.C. 12.

NCDOT met with citizens in Manteo, Rodanthe and Ocracoke in December 2011 and January 2012 to discuss possible design options for these long-term solutions.

The department continues to work diligently with its state and federal agency partners on the environmental work required to implement the permanent solutions at the two breach sites.

On Pea Island, NCDOT began construction in spring of 2014 of a permanent bridge within the existing easement where the temporary bridge is currently located. The department awarded a contract for construction at the Pea Island breach in November 2013. NCDOT suspended work on the Pea Island Bridge on September 9, 2014, as a proactive measure while NCDOT and the Attorney General's Office continue to review the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' recent ruling. Read more

In Rodanthe, the department is considering two options. The first one includes elevating N.C. 12 onto a bridge within the existing easement, which would end just north of the community center and not require beach nourishment. The second option is constructing an approximately 2.5-mile bridge that would extend into the Pamlico Sound and connect back to Rodanthe just north of the community center. NCDOT plans to award a contract for construction at the Rodanthe breach site in early 2015.

A series of storms, including Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, have battered this section N.C. 12, resulting in severe beach erosion. The Federal Highway Administration approved Hurricane Sandy emergency relief funds in March 2013 to pay for a beach nourishment project to protect the highway until a bridge is completed in this area.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who is administering the contract for NCDOT, awarded the project in July to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC of Oak Brook, Ill. The project includes dredging 1.6 million cubic yards of sand from two sandbars in the Atlantic Ocean. The project location is shown here. The contractor is using two dredges to expedite the project, which is expected to be completed around mid-September, weather permitting. For weekly updates on the nourishment project, like us on our NC 12 Facebook page.

Environmental Documents

Environmental Assessment for Rodanthe Long-Term Improvements (Project B-2500B), December 2013:

Record of Decision for NC 12- Pea Island Long-Term Improvements (Project B-2500A), October 2013.

Public Comments on the February 2013 B-2500A EA.
General public comments:

E-mails and written comments received in response to a Defenders of Wildlife request of its members:

North Carolina Conservation Network petition:

E-mails and written comments received in response to a Citizens Action Committee to Replace the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge request of its members and friends

Environmental Assessment for Pea Island Long-Term Improvements (Project B-2500A), February 2013:

The EA refers to previous environmental documents that were completed for the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project, including the 2008 Final Environmental Impact Statement, 2010 Environmental Assessment and 2010 Record of Decision. Those documents can be found in the Archives section of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project webpage.

Supporting Technical Reports to the EA:

Public Hearing Maps for Pea Island Long-term Improvements (Project B-2500A), March 2013:

Public Hearing Maps for Rodanthe Long-term Improvements (Project B-2500B), January 2014:

Project Videos & Photos

These images show the damage to N.C. 12 from Hurricane Irene and the work crews have done to temporarily fix the breaches.

Before & After Photos

Place your mouse over the image below to see the contrast of each breach site before and after NCDOT made temporary repairs.

These videos highlight the work NCDOT did to restore traffic to the Outer Banks quickly after Hurricane Irene. The temporary fixes the department put in place after the storm hit helped reinstate the area’s economic lifeline.

Click on the thumbnail images to view each video.

Contact Information

Brian Yamamoto, P.E.
Project Planning Engineer

  • Email: Contact Us
  • Phone: (919) 707-6051
  • Address: 1548 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-1548

John Page
Project Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff

  • Email: pagej@pbworld.com
  • Project Hotline: 1-866-803-0529
  • Address: 434 Fayetteville Street, Suite 1500, Raleigh, NC 27601

Resources for Local Property Owners

In many cases, it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired. The displacement of homes and businesses is minimized to the extent practicable. The following brochures will answer questions about this process.