The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge is located in Dare County, and opened in 1963. The bridge provides the only highway connection between Hatteras Island and mainland North Carolina. The Bonner Bridge Replacement Project will replace the existing bridge over Oregon Inlet and provide for the long-term retention of N.C. 12 between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe. NCDOT and the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, are currently in active, confidential discussions regarding replacing the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet with a new parallel bridge while continuing to develop a long-term solution to the transportation challenges along the stretch of N.C. 12 south of the bridge to Rodanthe.

Following a complex ruling issued by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, both sides determined that it was best to move forward with confidential discussions to resolve the bridge dispute. NCDOT and the Federal Highway Administration decided to temporarily suspend work on the permanent Pea Island Bridge construction until those talks and a detailed review of the recent court ruling are complete.

Last week, NCDOT also met with the N.C. 12 merger team, comprised of state and federal resource and regulatory agencies, to give members feedback on the status of the project and on a new concept that is under consideration.“We remain committed to building a new parallel bridge over the Oregon Inlet to ensure the safety of Outer Banks residents and visitors,” said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. “We have been in conversations with the SELC about the Bonner Bridge project for more than a year and believe these recent proactive discussions are a positive step toward a permanent solution.”