A new bridge near Rodanthe will open to vehicle traffic this month. Officials welcome the new bridge with a day dedicated to community events. A 5k race and an event where pedestrians and bikers could enjoy the bridge took place on Saturday.
The festivities began with the Run the Rodanthe Bridge race, which started at 8 a.m. Once the race ended at around 12 p.m., state officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially welcome the bridge. Finally, the bridge opened for foot and bike traffic until 5 p.m.
Bridge replaces troubled stretch of Rodanthe highway
The new bridge, colloquially known as the “Jug-Handle Bridge,” replaces a stretch of NC-12 north of Rodanthe. That stretch, the “S Curves,” would receive regular flooding during coastal storms. For years, the state struggled to find a solution that would maintain a roadway connection between the Outer Banks and Hatteras Island. A 2015 legal settlement halted the previous plan to build through parts of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge after conservationists raised concerns. The highway will now jut out over Pamlico Sound for 2.4 miles, bypassing the refuge.
This bridge is the third new bridge completed in the last five years on the islands. The Capt. Richard Etheridge Bridge, also on Pea Island, was completed in 2018. The Marc Basnight Bridge replaced the Bonner Bridge in 2019. All of these bridges are part of the same transportation project, the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project.
However, the project is not yet complete. The Department of Transportation will begin removing the S Curves portion of the old NC-12 soon. The DOT will remove both the pavement and the sandbags that kept the Atlantic Ocean at bay during flooding over the course of the next few months.
It’s an exciting time to be an Eastern North Carolinian! All of these construction projects will hopefully ease traffic in the region, making things like relocating with Raleigh Auto Transport much easier.