Fixes expected to reopen N.C. 12 in a month

By on September 2, 2011

A temporary bridge will span the largest breach. (USFWS)

A temporary bridge over the largest breach in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is expected to get traffic moving on N.C. 12 in less than a month, Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Friday.

The $10 million repair project will be funded entirely by the federal government.

After consulting with 75 experts, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will install a temporary, manufactured bridge across the breach 6 miles south of the Bonner Bridge, the governor’s office said in a statement.

Other breaches will be filled, the statement said. The largest is at Mirlo Beach, a chronic trouble spot on N.C. 12.

“This short-term solution provides time for NCDOT to develop a comprehensive, long-term plan by collaborating with agency partners and experts, as well as state, local, and federal officials,” the statement said.

The span will manufactured by Mabey Bridge and at an estimated cost of $2.5 million to $2.7 million, according to the Department of Transportation.

It will be shipped from the manufacturer in 35 truckloads and assembled on-site. The bridge will span 650 feet, a NCDOT timeline said, and 60-foot piles will be driven to support it.

Because it is metal, it will not be a permanent solution in a marine environment, but it will support normal car and truck traffic at a reduced speed.

NCDOT said a similar bridge is on U.S. 52 in Winston-Salem. See the timeline leading up to the plan.

Dare County will begin allowing residents back on to the island in stages starting Sunday. See more details.

More than 2,000 people stayed behind as the center of Hurricane Irene passed west of the Outer Banks over the weekend.

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