Construction of Rodanthe bridge still set to start in March

By on December 2, 2017

The bridge would swing out into the Pamlico Sound. (NCDOT)

By Joy Crist
Island Free Press

As the former Lego Bridge on Pea Island is dismantled, and progress continues on the new Bonner Bridge, the third bridge in the trio of Hatteras Island projects – the “Jug Handle” Bridge – is nearing its early 2018 starting date.

“Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2018, and starting in January and February, crews are going to be working in the staging area – grading and doing pile tests,” says Nora McCann, Project Planning Engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation. “We’re still on schedule for a March starting date.”

The Jug Handle Bridge will stretch from the southern portion of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to northern Rodanthe, and will bypass the section known as S-Turns, which is susceptible to breaches during storms.


The area was temporarily impassable during both 2011’s Hurricane Irene and 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, as well as a handful of nor’easters in the past few years.

The entire project includes the construction of a 2.4-mile bridge – known as a “jug handle” – that extends from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound into the village of Rodanthe.

This design is intended to minimize impacts to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the ocean shoreline, and the community of Rodanthe.


NCDOT also proposes building a one-lane roundabout in the village where the southern approach of the bridge will intersect with the current N.C. 12.

Traffic will be maintained on N.C. Highway 12 while the new bridge is being built. Once construction is complete, the existing roadway in the refuge would be removed, and that land would be returned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


In Rodanthe, the existing roadway would remain to provide access to private properties in the northern area of the village.

The project will be completed by Flatiron Constructors, Inc., who was awarded the design-build contract in January 2017. Based on Flatiron’s schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by early summer 2020.

As of November 30, a lawsuit against the state that was filed by a group of tri-village area property owners in February 2017 was not an impediment to starting in March.

In the lawsuit, the attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the bridge’s Record of Decision, the final step in the review process, was unlawful because the required extensive environmental review was not done.

“The litigation is going according to schedule,” said Timothy Hass, local NCDOT public relations officer. “The arguments will be submitted the first quarter of 2018, and we’re proceeding with the project as scheduled at this point.”


  • bud

    Beginning of the end of Pea Island access.

    Monday, Dec 4 @ 5:48 am
  • Sean

    That is the most stupid lookinget bridge I’ve ever seen. What bafune designed this. Why is it designed over the water and not over any part of land.

    Monday, Dec 4 @ 6:45 am
  • Jim

    I expect the lawsuit to disappear when those who filed it run out of money. It is unfortunate what is happening to them, but it has been discussed for years and they had adequate time to sell. For those that don’t remember Mirlo tried to impede the movement of the only power line into their neighborhood and failed. The same will happen again.

    Monday, Dec 4 @ 1:13 pm
  • Wes Lassiter

    We are looking first to having dependable transportation around the S curve area that is doomed. The lawsuits are misguided. The residents should be suing the developers for they were well aware of the high erosion rate that North Rodanthe and southern Pea Island. Building on that area was not wise to start with and the developers knew it and the County issuing permits years ago for the project knew this would be the outcome….

    Wednesday, Dec 6 @ 7:04 am
  • bud

    Mr. Wes Lassiter, I tried to convey this to Mr Jim P. Meyer (involved with Mirlo Beach lawsuit) in posts on Island Free Press. He does not seem to be familiar with the origins of Mirlo sub-division.

    Thursday, Dec 7 @ 6:51 am
  • marion

    So why not take the bridge to the southern end of Salvo? Those going to Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo would have a short jog back, and the rest would not be traffic heading south through those small hamlets.

    Tuesday, Dec 12 @ 11:11 am
  • Cgsmith

    Deer Bafune
    It is spelled buffoon

    Tuesday, Dec 19 @ 7:01 pm
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