Construction of Jug Handle Bridge slated to begin next month

By on August 10, 2018

Computer simulation of how the bridge will look. (NCDOT)

Construction on the 2.4 mile Jug Handle Bridge is expected to begin in a few weeks, as staging preparations in Rodanthe begin to wind down, and final permits are put into place.

“Prep work is continuing at the staging area, but we should expect to see work begin on the actual bridge itself in a month or so,” said NCDOT Public Relations Officer Tim Haas.

Construction will begin on the land-based portions of the bridge before continuing out into the open water. Based on the current schedule, the bridge is expected to open to traffic by late 2020.

The Jug Handle Bridge will stretch from the southern portion of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to northern Rodanthe, and will bypass the S-Turns section of N.C. Highway 12, which is highly susceptible to breaches during storms.

The bridge earned its “jug handle” moniker from its distinctive shape that juts out into the Pamlico Sound before reconnecting with N.C. 12 north of Rodanthe.

This design – which is also referred to as the preferred alternative – minimizes impacts to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the ocean shoreline, and the community of Rodanthe while maintaining safe and reliable access for residents and visitors, according to NCDOT.

NCDOT also proposes building a one-lane roundabout, as opposed to a traditional “T” type intersection) at the end of the existing N.C. 12, and by the relocated N.C. 12 near the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The concept was developed to provide a safer intersection with less potential conflict points — areas where drivers are crossing, merging, or leaving a road.

Traffic will be maintained on N.C. 12 while the new bridge is being built, and once construction is complete, the existing roadway in the refuge will be removed, while the existing section of N.C. Highway 12 in Rodanthe will remain open to provide access to private properties.

The Jug Handle Bridge – along with the Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island, which was completed in the spring of 2018 – is considered part of Phase II of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project.

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  • Steve

    Beginning of the end for pea island access. The Park is getting their way, making beaches off-limits and/or no access..

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 6:43 am
  • Joan

    Sure do hope this is NOT true! Build up Hwy 12 BUT please do not ruin the sound! This is terrible idea! 😢😢😢

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 10:56 am
  • Lance Manly

    Not sure what you mean by “The Park” most of the area is in the Pea Island NWR. During local hearings the jug handle bridge was the way to go.

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 11:12 am
  • Carol Leigh

    Retreat, retreat, retreat.. that is all NCDOT knows how to do, all other states along the eastern seaboard control erosion with measures of beach stabilization, not good ole NC… I live in Florida, beaches are nourished and then stabilized every three years, tolls pay for all of this, free ferries, scraping off Highway 12, and the biggest expense dredging Oregon inlet that causes 99% of the erosion, continues.. insane!!

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 12:14 pm
  • CorollaCat

    Again, like I always say, everybody calm down.

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 2:07 pm
  • Steve

    Soon there will only be bridges like the FL keys, with hardly any place to pull over.

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 2:10 pm
  • Czarina

    People who think they can beat Mother Nature keep losing. In the old aquarium, there was a display showing how the barrier islands would keep shifting west and eventually (in centuries) be attached to the mainland. You either accept what Mother Nature does and work with it, or you keep spending millions of dollars trying to fight Her.

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 2:55 pm
  • Obxer

    Dang, that’s the ugliest thing I’ve seen. Who designed this someone in kansas

    Saturday, Aug 11 @ 8:20 pm
  • Barry C Nelms

    Florida has stabilized beaches on both their Atlantic and Gulf coasts….as a member of the Outer Banks Erosion Task Force back in the 80’s I said then and now, that the most efficient and least costly way to divert wave energy is to build a granite reef off shore to reduce the wave energy along the beach strand….Florida did this with Coral Reef formations…and NC Could do it with Granite Reefs …I think the problem has always been the feds and environmental groups opposing everything.

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 9:25 am
  • Mamaspaid

    The area behind liberty gas station is already being prepped fenced off and large piles is dirt sand and gravel showed up last week ! This is happening!

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 1:44 pm
  • Bill Akers

    For the uniformed this was the compromise required so the Bonner Bridge project could begin. Without the compromise the new BB would still be in court.

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 1:49 pm
  • Fisherman

    Going to be a SheepHead fishing paradise !!!

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 1:55 pm
  • surf123

    @Barry C Nelms that is exactly what we do not need and thankfully the land is owned by the park service and they will not allow you and the groups you belong to ruin the beaches. All of these great plans to “fix” Mother Nature have tremendous side effects that adversely affect and/or create another issue. There is no fix that does not cause damage. The Outer Banks don’t have an erosion problem; they have a human problem. Remove the dunes and let the ocean wash over as it is supposed to. Humans can work around the geography and not change it to fit their needs ($).

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 3:16 pm
  • Bud

    We already have numerous ‘offshore reefs’, known as ‘shoals’. Very beneficial in reducing large-wave/swell energy from reaching shore

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 8:12 pm
  • charlie

    So what is the emergency plan for an oil spill on this jug handle causeway? If a petroleum tanker accident spills 5,000 gallons of petroleum product into the sound then what happens?

    Sunday, Aug 12 @ 11:03 pm
  • roadrunner

    Hey Charlie, it gets cleaned up! DUH!!!!

    Monday, Aug 13 @ 7:17 am
  • Sean

    Now why would a tanker truck spill 5000 gal of fuel into the sound. If it happened on land it would stI’ll make it to the dound

    Monday, Aug 13 @ 7:34 am
  • Anthony

    In Europe Holland they dredged up sand and created more barrier . Here the various groups say no no you’ll damage the under sea life. Don’t these so called experts realize after and major storm it changes the bottom. They don’t need to get sand miles off shore. They can get good sand approx. 300 yars. Look at the money wasted building the new bridge there. They just needed to fill in the inlet. It filled ut self in by itself a year ago. They just needed to add some dunes.

    Monday, Aug 13 @ 12:28 pm