Preliminary work is beginning on Pea Island as contractors for the N.C. Department of Transportation prepare to build an interim, concrete bridge over the breach cut by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
A $14.3 million contract to T.A. Loving Co. of Goldsboro was awarded last month for construction of a new bridge to replace the existing metal temporary bridge over the area known as New Inlet on northern Hatteras Island.
“The new interim bridge will be easier to maintain than the existing temporary bridge and will allow for better access to and from communities along the Outer Banks until a long-term solution can be identified,” said NCDOT spokesperson Jennifer Heiss.
Crews have started surveying work at the location of the new bridge. This week, weather permitting, crews will begin additional preparation work on the ground, including rebuilding a portion of N.C. 12 that was originally taken out for the construction of the previously-planned permanent bridge project.
In spring of 2014, NCDOT began construction of a permanent bridge on Pea Island to replace the metal one. NCDOT suspended work Sept. 9, 2014, while the department and groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center were negotiating an agreement allowing for the replacement of the Bonner Bridge, which was announced in June.
That 3-mile long bridge project was canceled and a new shorter bridge will be built as part of the settlement. Construction of the new Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet is expected to start next spring.
Traffic will be shifted back to its original alignment at New Inlet and the pavement put in for the onsite detour will be removed. Traffic is not expected to be affected during this work.
In January, crews will bring in materials.
A pipeline will be brought in to supply water that will be used to install the bridge pilings. Wooden mats will be placed on the ground, allowing for crews to drive and move equipment up to and along the construction site.
Actual construction of the Pea Island interim bridge is scheduled to begin in March 2016. The bridge is expected to be open to traffic by April 2017.
The existing temporary bridge is 663 feet long, has two 12-foot-wide lanes and no shoulders.
The new bridge will be just under a half-mile long, with the southern end 1,100 feet south of the existing temporary bridge. It will have two 12-foot-wide lanes and four-foot-wide shoulders on each side.
The new bridge will include 47 spans, each 50 feet in length, and will have the same elevation as the highest point of the existing temporary bridge.
Traffic along N.C. 12 will continue to use the existing temporary bridge while construction is under way.
There will be lane shifts and lane closures occasionally throughout construction; however, the road will remain open to traffic.
Another aspect of the Bonner Bridge settlement that led to construction of the interim Pea Island Bridge is a plan for the highway department to prepare a report and work with the Federal Highway Administration to identify possible long-term options for protecting N.C. 12 at New Inlet.
The report, which is expected to be complete by early 2017, will look at all options, including those carrying N.C. 12 along Pea Island, as well as options for carrying the road over the Pamlico Sound.
source: Outer Banks Voice