Outer Banks will soon open a second bridge to run along the flooded road
RODANTHE, North Carolina
A bridge that will allow locals and tourists to avoid an ever-washed-out road on North Carolina’s Outer Banks is expected to open to traffic this month.
People will be able to walk, cycle and run on the 2.4-mile (3.8-kilometer) Rodanthe Bridge on Saturday before it opens, reports The News & Observer.
The $154 million bridge will take North Carolina Highway 12 over Pamlico Sound, bypassing the southern end of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and a portion of the road that is often washed out by the ocean during the storms. Construction on the project – known as the “jug-handle bridge” because of the way it protrudes above the water – began in 2018.
A group of landowners and residents sued in federal court to try to stop the bridge from being built, arguing that the environmental impacts had not been carefully weighed and that a popular windsurfing spot would be affected.
Wildlife advocates and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, however, sided with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. While the bridge has taken nearly 3 acres (1.2 hectares) of the refuge, approximately 19 acres (7.7 hectares) will be restored where part of the existing highway will be removed.
Environmental groups have actually pushed for a longer bridge, but the Department for Transport said it would be too expensive. Two bridges were built instead. The $252 million, 2.8-mile (4.5-kilometer) Marc Basnight Bridge over Oregon Inlet opened in February 2019.
Saturday’s ‘Community Day’ at Rodanthe Bridge will include 5 mile (8 kilometer) and 5 km (3 mile) races. Part of the bridge will be open to walkers and cyclists from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.