he North Carolina Department of Transportation has closed the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet to NC-12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns.
Sonar scanning of the bridge has identified scouring concerns, or areas where too much sand has eroded from the support structure of the bridge.
NCDOT crews have been monitoring the conditions of the bridge all week. The inspections have revealed additional areas of concern, which led officials to the decision to close the bridge immediately.
The bridge will remain closed until additional resources can be brought in to inspect the bridge and make necessary repairs.
NCDOT has declared a state of emergency as a way of expediting the process.
The Bonner Bridge is the only highway access for vehicles between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
Until it reopens, NCDOT will provide ferries to move people and cars across the Pamlico Sound.
Ferry workers have already tested emergency ferry ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe. Four vessels are already en route to begin operating the emergency Hatteras Island Route.
All tolls currently in place on the Ocracoke-Swan Quarter and Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferry routes will be waived for residents, emergency personnel and vendors while the bridge is closed and the emergency ferry route is in operation. The U.S. Coast Guard is also currently on standby.
At full capacity on a full schedule, the route can ferry 760 single cars a day, 380 from each side. A detailed emergency ferry route schedule will be available on the Ferry division website.