State permit issued for Bonner Bridge replacement
The NCDOT said in a news release the state Coastal Area Management Act major permit was received Thursday afternoon, following a 30-day public comment period and reviews by four federal and 10 state agencies.
Federal permits and easements from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to be issued over the next four months.
The NCDOT hopes to move forward with the replacement project starting early next year, but that will be determined by what happens with a pending lawsuit filed by environmental groups.
Phase I of the project will build the new span just west of where the Bonner Bridge currently stands.
Phase II includes implementing long-term solutions for the major breaches on Pea Island and at Mirlo Beach caused by Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
The NCDOT has initiated an “active coastal monitoring” program of the nagging overwash issues along N.C. 12 between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe.
Alternatives that could be considered for future phases were previously studied as part of the project’s original environmental analysis include beach nourishment, road relocation or additional bridges.
The Bonner Bridge was built in 1962 and is in use far beyond its intended lifespan. It is under constant repair, with the latest work costing $1.8 million to reduce scouring on the inlet floor around several pilings.
A contract of $215.8 million was awarded to PCL Civil Constructors Inc. and HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas last summer for the bridge project.
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