Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Underwater Surveys and Pile Tests on Completed on Bonner Bridge

Our crews completed several tests and surveys of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on N.C. 12 over the Oregon Inlet in Dare County today. These tests will provide crucial information to help evaluate the overall effectiveness of the sand placed in the area where erosion occurred and determine the next steps for repairs. 
Results of the information gathered today should be available Thursday. Photos of the various activities conducted at the bridge can be found on NCDOT’s Flickr site.

As part of today’s testing, crews with NCDOT’s Location and Surveys Unit conducted an underwater sonar survey of the area around Bent 166. Dive crews also inspected the area to assess if the sand is compacting as it needs to in order to properly support the bridge.

The department also began testing how much weight the bridge piles can carry. Carolina Bridge Company Inc. will drive two test piles into the inlet floor near the general vicinity of Bent 166. As of 4:30 p.m., they had completed one test drive.

NCDOT’s geotechnical staff will use the data gathered today, as well as additional surveys, to fully assess this situation and future repairs. Once a full assessment of the bridge’s safety is complete, NCDOT will determine the next steps. According to NCDOT Division 1 Engineer Jerry Jennings, the timeframe for reopening the bridge could be about a week from now or up to 90 days, depending on the findings of the assessment and timeline for repairs.

Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped during the weekend from the main navigation channel of the Oregon Inlet to the location at Bent 166 underneath the Bonner Bridge where scour, or the erosion of sand from bridge pilings, caused NCDOT to close the bridge on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Emergency Repairs
NCDOT awarded a $1.6 million contract to Carolina Bridge Company Inc. of Orangeburg, S.C. last week for emergency repairs on the Bonner Bridge.

Crews will use sandbags and four-foot tall A-Jacks to provide support to the bridge pilings and prevent further scour from occurring. A-Jacks interlocked together will be placed around the perimeter of the support structure at Bent 166. Crews will then place sandbags inside the line of A-Jacks. An additional two layers of A-Jacks and sandbags will then be placed on top of the base layer for a total of 10-12 feet of additional protection. This will allow sand to collect over the sandbags and A-Jacks, providing additional support to the structure.

Contractor crews have begun mobilizing equipment and materials to the bridge site. NCDOT and the contractor are working together to develop a timeframe for the repairs to be complete.

Emergency Ferry Route
NCDOT’s Ferry Division activated its emergency route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe with limited service the night of the bridge closure. The route went into full operation Wednesday, Dec. 4, with steady traffic and short-to-moderate wait times reported at both terminals. Dare County Emergency Managementhas issued a priority loading list for the route. The emergency ferry route will continue seven days a week as long as service is needed. Ferry information is available on the Ferry Division website, by calling 800-293-3779, or via Facebook and Twitter at @NCDOT_Ferry.

For More Information
NCDOT will continue to update the public on this situation online and via its N.C. 12 Facebook page and N.C. 12 Twitter account.

Permanent Replacement
While NCDOT is working hard to reopen the Bonner Bridge to traffic as quickly as possible, the emergency repairs are not considered a permanent fix for the aging bridge. After 50 years of weathering many storms, the bridge needs to be replaced. In July 2011, NCDOT awarded a $215.8 million contract for the design and construction of a new bridge. Design work began immediately and construction of the new bridge was set to begin in early 2013; however, lawsuits have put the project on hold.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


We understand that ocean overwash along N.C. 12 in the Outer Banks often makes it difficult for residents, visitors and businesses to get where they need to go efficiently. The state of emergency declared by Gov. McCrory helps us move forward with a short-term solution to protect this critical coastal highway at its most vulnerable location – the S-Curves.

Overwash at the S-Curves in March 2013
Currently, when overwash occurs at the S-Curves, it often forces N.C. 12 to close, making it challenging for people to get to jobs, education or medical appointments. A series of storms, including hurricanes Irene and Sandy, severely eroded the beach just north of Rodanthe.  Without the beach to act as a buffer, the strong surf threatens to undermine the structure and safety of the road.

That is why we have acquired $20.8 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency repair funds from the Federal Highway Administration to rebuild the beach at the S-Curves. Nourishment will provide much-needed protection to N.C. 12 until we can put a long-term solution in place in the coming years.

Although Buxton also experiences overwash, it was not included in the emergency declaration for several reasons. When overwash occurs, it washes water and sand onto N.C. 12, but it does not currently threaten the road’s integrity. Following recent storms, our crews have cleared the overwash off the road quickly without requiring repairs. In addition, N.C. 12 at Buxton does not qualify for federal emergency repair funds, and is not a candidate for state transportation funding for repair and protection at this time.

We have identified the section of N.C. 12 in Buxton as a “hot spot” that may see increased erosion in the future. We are studying this location to determine feasible long-term options for maintaining transportation along N.C. 12 if future conditions threaten the long-term viability of the existing roadway.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Alligator River Info

To get to N.C. 12 and the Outer Banks, many of us travel U.S. 64 across the Alligator River in Tyrrell CountyOn Tuesday, April 2 at 12:01 a.m., we will close the drawbridge over the river for two weeks in order to replace several mechanical parts under the swing span part of the bridge.  Those parts are worn because of the age of the bridge and the high amount of use it receives.  The work will help stave off future closures of the structure.
The bridge will be closed to all traffic through Sunday, April 14. 

Here are the detour plans.

If you're traveling from Columbia follow:
  • N.C. 94 South to U.S. 264 East to U.S. 64
Motorists traveling from Dare County should use the following signed detour:
  • U.S. 264 West to N.C. 94 North to U.S. 64 

View Alligator River Bridge Detour in a larger map

NCDOT is working with the Inter County Public Transportation Authority (ICPTA) and Hyde County Transit to provide shuttle service to hotel employees who live and work in the area during the bridge closure at two park and ride locations.

Inter County Public Transportation Authority Park & Ride Lot:

  • NCDOT Creswell Maintenance Facility, 14193 N.C. 94 North
Hyde County Transit Park & Ride Lot:
  • Lake Mattamuskeet, N.C. 94 North, Fairfield

Don't forget, you can get bridge closing information on our website.  And follow the hashtag #GatorAid on Twitter for updates.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Live Web Cams!!!!

Three new web cams are up and running along NC 12.  We've positioned them at south of the Bonner Bridge that we call the Canal Area, at the temporary bridge and at the S-Curves near Mirlo.

Dial e'm up to get live views of the traffic flow and road conditions by visiting's Travel Information page.  Scroll down the map and click on any of the camera icons for the live view.

State of Emergency for NC 12 After Storms, High Surf

On March 19, Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for N.C. 12 in Dare County to help the N.C. Department of Transportation move ahead with a short-term solution to protect the critical coastal highway from frequent ocean overwash caused by high winds and strong surf.

The declaration comes at the recommendation of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, following a visit and town hall meeting along the Outer Banks on March 11. The governor and secretary surveyed the area and talked with residents about having a more reliable route between Hatteras Island and the mainland.

“The people there have real concerns about the road they depend on to get to work, school or medical appointments,” said Governor McCrory. “They need a highway that is not forced to close every time a storm approaches. By declaring a State of Emergency, NCDOT can fast-track work to rebuild the beach along the S-Curves, so we can keep the road open until a long-term solution is in place.”

A series of storms, including Hurricane Sandy last fall, resulted in severe beach erosion along N.C. 12 at the S-Curves.

NCDOT has already executed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to nourish the beach along the S-Curves. NCDOT is currently working closely with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to swiftly acquire the permit needed to conduct the work. The target date to begin beach nourishment is mid-to-late spring.

NCDOT has also acquired $20.8 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency response funding from the Federal Highway Administration to pay for the beach nourishment. The one-time emergency response effort will fortify the section of N.C. 12 most often threatened by powerful winds for three years by which time a permanent solution should be built.

“We know this work can’t wait. N.C. 12 is an important pipeline for visitors who have a major impact on the local and statewide economy.” Secretary Tata said. “We want to ensure residents get the help they need now as we continue to look for innovative and strategic ways to make a lasting impact.”

At this time, NCDOT is considering two long-term solutions for the S-Curves, a roughly one-mile section of N.C. 12 just north of Mirlo Beach. They include a bridge within the existing easement and a 2.5-mile bridge that extends into the Pamlico Sound. The department will hold public meetings about the options this summer and plans to award a contract for construction this fall.

In early March, strong winds pummeled the Outer Banks, causing significant overwash at the S-Curves and forcing the road to close on and off temporarily for more than a week. NCDOT crews have reopened the road and are now in the process of replacing the sand that blew off the sandbags installed after Hurricane Sandy last year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adjusted Schedules for the Swann Quarter Ferry to help Vendors

From our folks at Mann's Harbor:
The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is temporarily adjusting departure times at its Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route, beginning Thursday, Jan. 24, to assist vendors supplying essential commodities to Ocracoke with adequate turn-around time.

The adjusted departures will be:
·         Changing the 7 a.m. departure to 6:30 a.m. and the 12:30 p.m. departure to 1 p.m. from Ocracoke; and
·         Changing the 10 a.m. departure from Swan Quarter to 9:30 a.m.

The adjusted schedule will be:
·         Departing from Swan Quarter at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 and 10; and
·         Departing from Ocracoke at 6:30 a.m., 10, 1 p.m. and 7.

Residents of Ocracoke and vendors will be given toll exempt status until the Hatteras ferry channel resumes operations. The division is monitoring traffic and will make additional changes if needed.

Operations at the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route were suspended Jan. 18 until further notice, due to the ferry channel at markers #9 and #10 becoming completely shoaled over and impassable. The channel falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which has hired a contractor to dredge the channel. Work is under way, but it could take several weeks of dredging before the channel is safe for ferry operations to resume.

For more information travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter  or visit the N.C. 12 Facebookpage.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quick Update - Sandbags and Ferries

Sandbag installation is now complete along the part of N.C. 12 just north of Mirlo Beach that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy and a pair of Nor'easters last year. The final 41 sandbags were put into place on Monday, Jan. 21, connecting the section of sandbags from the north end to the section at the south end. The total number of sandbags placed along this section of N.C. 12 is 2,048.

Crews resumed hauling sand in this morning to cover the sandbags and rebuild the dunes. Weather permitting, this should be complete Wednesday afternoon.
While the work is under way, the highway remains open to traffic.
Operations at the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route have been suspended until further notice. The shoaling situation at Hatteras Inlet has made the route impassable.

The Ferry Division added more departures to its Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route, beginning Saturday, Jan. 19, to assist Ocracoke residents and vendors. This schedule, with toll-exempt status for residents and vendors, will continue until the Hatteras ferry channel resumes operations. The schedule is as follows:
  • Departing Swan Quarter at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 and 10; and
  • Departing Ocracoke at 7 a.m., 10, 12:30 p.m. and 7.
The Ferry Division continues to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard to assess the situation daily. The USACE has issued a dredging contract to address the channel shoaling, and work is under way, but several weeks could pass before dredging alleviates the problem.