Pea Island bridge is almost halfway finished

By on September 22, 2011

Half the pilings have been driven. (NCDOT)

Construction of a temporary N.C. 12 bridge over the breach at the middle of Pea Island is nearing the midway point.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation says half of the pilings needed for support of the steel bridge have been driven as of late Wednesday, while a third of the bridge structure itself has been put together.

Sand bags are starting to be filled and placed on the south shore of the breach at the old Pea Island Refuge ranger station to stabilize the landing on that side.

Last weekend’s nor’easter also claimed a yellow brick refuge building built in the 1960′s, next to the breach between the ocean and sound that the bridge will cross.

Rebuilt dune along the S-Curve north of Rodanthe (NCDOT Photo)

Dune reconstruction and sand bag construction is continuing at the S-Curves north of Rodanthe, where another breach has been filled in.

Temporary Bridge Facts (From NCDOT as of Thursday 9/22):

Piling: 41 piles driven out of 82 total piles.

Sheet Piling Bulkhead: 506 linear feet out of 726 total linear feet.

Concrete Footings: 4 footings poured out of 12 total footings.

Bridge Truss Spans: 233 linear feet out of 662 total linear feet.


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Mark Williamson

September 28, 2011 6:10 pm

I saw no mention of filling the inlet in the article quoting Refuge Manager Bryant. All work was being done in NC DOT right of way. I do not think the inlet will be filled. Mirlo is not fish and wildlife land, just south I believe.

Still sitting in line

September 28, 2011 11:15 am

are there any updates on the status of the road and bridge. Nothing in the Press since 9/22

ET Aullivan

September 28, 2011 2:09 am

There are so many great points being made here. I am a long time visitor to OBX. The effects of Irene will be felt for years and there will be more storms, just a question of when. I appreciate all I just learned trading these posts. Is there a permanent solution? What can we learn from other coastal areas that can be implemented at OBX?


September 27, 2011 8:54 pm

Thank you for all of your hard work to get the bridge finished. I know the local people are probably more appreciative than we can imagine.
I surely hope that the bridge will be in service by October 15th, when my vacation to Avon is scheduled…..but if it’s not I already have my ferry reservation. It will take longer to get there but still soooo worth it!!


September 26, 2011 3:06 pm

S-curves is another natural inlet site. Check out the long term effects of allowing the natural inlets:

This one quote is quite telling from page 15:

“Some barrier island segments are clearly in danger of developing inlets in the near future. These are the narrow and low barrier island segments that experience the highest erosion rates, such as the island
segment immediately north of Rodanthe, or the Buxton
and Isabel Inlet areas. In areas with low sand volume (sand-starved segments; Riggs et al., 2008), where the underlying geologic units are not resistant to erosion, major storm surge and cross-island flow can cut a channel substantially below sea level that results in post-storm tidal flow. The result is an inlet.
Several investigations have conducted coastal hazard
assessments of the Outer Banks and other coastal areas,
including the potential for future inlet formation. These assessments address a range in spatial scales and have different purposes; some are more regional and qualitative in focus while others are detailed and quantitative. For example, Pilkey et al. (1998) produced maps of coastal vulnerability
to hurricanes and winter storm damage, including inlet
hazard areas, based upon the occurrence of past inlets, island width and elevation, forest cover, dune height and width, erosion or accretion rates, and various human impacts. Riggs et al. (in press) produced maps of inlet vulnerability based on knowledge of the geologic framework, geomorphology and erosion rates (Fig. 19).”

So these inlets opening were predicted in 2008, and if the inlets are not allowed to form, the barrier islands will continue to get narrower, since the inlets Flood Tide Delta (FTD) is one mechanism to add width to these islands.

I’m not sure what Happy Barracuda thinks is the best solution, but it might be worthwhile to pay attention to the scientific studies, the islands will continue to shift with time, and NC 12 will wash out with increasing frequency if the only solution is pumping sand.

Happy Barracuda

September 26, 2011 6:35 am

What do we do the next storm?

Do our ‘Fearless Leaders’ have everything under control?

Are there safety checks in place?

Does the new S-Curves dune look like a pile of talcum powder standing againest one of the highest beach energy zones on the East Coast.

Sheet Pile

September 26, 2011 5:37 am

Please keep me informed ^^


September 26, 2011 4:01 am

Sheet Piling Bulkhead: 506 linear feet out of 726 total linear feet
I guess all steel sheet piling should be driven before construction inside?
Also I am wondering if they are using hot rolled steel sheet pile or cold formed steel sheet pile? Cause if cold formed, it should be Shunli Sheet Piling- the largest cold formed sheet piling manufacturer(

Jim Heavy Sumrell

September 25, 2011 12:09 pm

u guys are working hard for us thank u


September 25, 2011 8:28 am

@sailor…During the Reg/neg meetings it was determined that they did not have to stay in the current right-of-way. I do not know if this has changed.

Still sitting in line

September 24, 2011 6:52 pm

The DOT is doing a heck of a job considering the weather and its vagaries,however, I am truly concerned about the lack of personnel at Stumpy Point ferry landing.Friday night around eight or nine o’clock my neighbors were returning home and there was one highway patrolman checking licenses and no one else was around. People began skipping lines and cutting off people with their cars and trucks. There was evidently no one else on duty. I definitely think that this should be looked into before someone gets injured.



September 24, 2011 4:18 pm

I wish the DOT would have allowed us over the bridge to Pea Island to catch the last swell, but they’ve obviously been very busy getting the road reconnected to Hatteras. FEMA, the DOT and the contractors all deserve credit for quick decisions and getting the job done.

The decision to build a bridge over the new New Inlet was a good one because it allows Pea Island to build up sand on the sound side while it retreats in response to rising sea level.

Unfortunately, the large pile of sand at S-turns will last to the next tropical storm or strong noreaster. The resemblance of the bulldozed sand to a stabilized dune is strictly coincidental. The relatively steep offshore slope of the sea floor near S turns will continue to focus wave energy on this zone of weakness. The only solution that won’t quickly fail is to allow an inlet to form. However, DOT is constrained by property lines, so they are doing the best they can. It’s a temporary solution at best.

For what it’s worth, the ocean isn’t listening to our petty political arguments. We can learn about coastal dynamics and adapt, or suffer the consequences of ignorance.


September 24, 2011 3:42 pm

Frank has it correct. You are largely on your own when the brown stuff hits the fan. However, for Corporations, there’s muchco denero on the table.

Good luck to all, especially through the upcomming hard times. Follow the money. Know the rats.


September 24, 2011 10:52 am

Re-filling the inlet just as hurricane season is kicking off would have put us at tremendous risk. The temporary bridge buys time. Now the Mirlo breach will remain our achilles heel until we address it rationally.

Does anyone know if NCDOT ordered additional bridge parts to store on Hatteras Island? The ocean / sound dynamic is becoming more threatening there. Houses are dropping into the ocean before we can move them now.

If you know anything about the area, look at the picture above and post whether you think the berm will hold back the ocean for the rest of this fall.

OBX Resident

September 24, 2011 8:36 am

It is my understanding that ncdot was ready to fill the inlet with support of many elected officials and that it was Predue that halted this plan. Filling the inlet would have been much faster than the temp. Bridge and Hatteras would possibly already be open. A permanent solution could then have been worked out. Don’t understand all of the support for Predue at this time with no perm. solution being shared with public.


September 24, 2011 4:21 am

Agree about eminent domain. Those houses should not be allowed to be built back in that area.

Haha! “Competent FEMA under Obama” (or Bush, or anyone else). What a joke. Sure, like in the Katrina after math when FEMA paid hundreds of millions of dollars to white guys in suits, who then paid tens of millions to white guys in suits, who paid millions to contractors in New Orleans to pay very low wages to the actual workers. Way to go. Waste huge amounts of money. Kind of like the Dept. Of Justice’s $16 muffins (google it).


September 23, 2011 9:01 pm

OBX Resident: You seem to be on the inside of all these meetings- what else have you left out?

Seems to me that Governor Perdue got this temporary bridge underway very rapidly with help from the competent folks at FEMA under President Obama.

So why aren’t you happy with the progress so far?

S-turns will probably be more of a problem than the temporary bridge- the NC DOT folks are hampered by sticking to the old right of way. So there is not enough room to move the highway to the West because of the private property lines.

Time for some eminent domain action against those Rodanthe lands- not like they are worth much without a highway to get to them.

OBX Resident

September 23, 2011 3:15 pm

Are there sandbags under the dune along hwy 12 at S-Turns? The waves are lapping up against it. If you think that dune has a chance against a swell you are joking. Also, what comes after the temp. bridge; is the State working on a settlement with the SELC and NCCF; are negotiations on going; what is being considered; etc. It seems that the State is being played by these environmental groups. The State needs to announce the permanent solution, commence the work needed on the permanent solution, and let the environmentalist seek an injunction and get the thing to court. The judicial system is going to be where the permanent solution is determined. It is time to get going on the permanent solution. Everyone is tip toeing around the issue, all fearful of the environmentalist.


September 23, 2011 11:30 am

Word has it they expect the bridge and highway 12 to be open by early October. We are coming down on the 8th and want to know if they have a projected date of completion.


September 23, 2011 9:43 am

Just to add some perspective on this, not too many years ago, that brick refuge building that collapsed into the ocean, was west of highway 12. There will always be access problems on Hatteras Island, or is it Hatteras Islands.

Becky Megerian

September 23, 2011 9:24 am

Thank you yet again for your good work at keeping us informed of things that the new media are not reporting.

Allan 2

September 23, 2011 7:39 am

Have not followed this topic very much. What comes AFTER the temporary bridge?


September 22, 2011 7:12 pm

Hooray for NCDOT and all the workers getting thisw done so fast. And for once, we have an example of govermnent moving fast and reasonably in dealing with a crisis.


September 22, 2011 3:25 pm

Sam; Thanks.

Yes, awesome news.


September 22, 2011 2:38 pm

Mabey Bridge Company is doing a good job along with the local contractor. Sure is nice to see that FEMA money put to good use.

When NC12 reopens the businesses on Hatteras Island will start to see some income. October is a great month to visit HI!

Gayle Flannery

September 22, 2011 2:35 pm

Thanks to all the workers that are constructing the bridges. Planning a vacation in Avon the week of Thanksgiving and it hopefully sounds like we’ll be able to get to our rental because of their hard work.

Dave Douglas

September 22, 2011 1:56 pm

That folks is some GREAT NEWS!!!!!

Sam Walker

September 22, 2011 1:45 pm

A pair of the same bridges are being used on US 52 in Winston-Salem to carry two lanes of traffic in each direction.

I’ll add some details in a future story.


September 22, 2011 1:36 pm

Is it me or does that bridge look like it’s one lane?

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