If you didn’t hear about the big news that rocked the Outer Banks on Tuesday, December 3, the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet was closed due to immediate safety concerns.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) found the bridge to be unsafe because of major sand erosion around the support structures on the southern portion of the Bonner Bridge.
Immediately following the closing, an emergency ferry route was established by NCDOT’s Ferry Division. The route travels from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe, North Carolina and began operation on Wednesday morning. According to NCDOT’s website, at full capacity, the route can transport up to760 single cars per day (380 from each side) and takes about two hours to travel on.
100 Log Storage Road
Stumpy Point, North Carolina 27968
Located off Highway 264, approximately 15 miles south of the 264/64 split.
23170 Myrna Peters Road
Rodanthe, North Carolina 27968
Located close to the sound side of Highway 12, right across from the Chicamacomico Life Saving Station.
Ferry Departure Times
A.M. – 5:00 / 6:30 / 8:00 / 9:30 / 11:00
P.M. – 12:30 / 2:00 / 3:30 / 5:00 / 9:30
A.M. – 6:00 / 7:30 / 9:00 / 10:30 / Noon
P.M. – 1:30 / 3:00 / 4:30 / 6:00 / 7:30
Frequently Asked Questions
If you live, work or vacation south of the Bonner Bridge, you probably have a slew of questions about the current and future state of the bridge. We’d like to share a list of frequently asked questions that the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau shared with us in an email earlier today.
I’ve heard there’s a bride on the Outer Banks that’s closed, is this true?
Yes, at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, December 3rd the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge. The crucial Northeastern North Carolina structure spans Oregon Inlet and connects Hatteras Island to the mainland and other parts of the Outer Banks. This is the first time since 1990 the bridge has been closed for repairs.
Does this mean I won’t be able to get somewhere on the Outer Banks?
No, you can still get to anywhere on the Outer banks, ferries are providing alternative transportation to and from Hatteras Island. If you need to get somewhere north of Oregon Inlet, you won’t have any problems or delays. Popular Outer Banks vacation towns like Nags Head, Corolla, Kill Devil Hills, etc.. are unaffected by the Bonner Bridge closing.
How will the new ferry route affect my travel plans?
The Stumpy Point – Rodanthe ferry crosses the scenic Pamlico Sound. The trip across the body of water takes approximately two hours from one point to the other. This is a completely free ferry route.
Why is the Bonner Bride closed?
NCDOT discovered that a severe amount of erosion around one of the bridge’s pilings, making the bridge highly dangerous to cross.
How long will the bridge be closed?
A contractor has been hired by NCDOT to immediately begin repairing the affected areas. Since it’s common for bridges submerged in water to lose sediment around their pilings, solutions are readily available and will likely involve submerging large concrete jack-shaped objects around the affected piling(s) along with sandbags. These objects will help sand accumulatea round the piling. Once the contractor ahs evaluated the situation, they will be able to predict how long the project will take – and how long the Bonner Bridge will be closed.
I’ve heard the bridge is old and needs replaced, will the repairs be enough to make it safe for travel again?
The Bonner Bridge is a 50-year-old structure that was built to last about 30 years. The bridge needs to be replaced in the very near future. Because of how brittle the current structure is, NCDOT is highly vigilant in monitoring its status. The high level of monitoring allows the organization to recognize and address issues as they arise. NCDOT has stated many times that they will not allow the public’s safety to be jeopardized.
Why haven’t they replaced the bridge yet?
Funding and a plan for a new bridge has already been approved by NCDOT, however two lawsuits from the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Defenders of Wildlife, respectively are preventing NCDOT from moving forward with construction on a replacement bridge.