The new bridge replacing the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet is expected to open to traffic this month. But first, state and local officials are inviting folks to take a walk (or bike ride) over its 2.8-mile span.
The informal community day begins this Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. Following brief remarks, the bridge will open to the public for pedestrian and bicycle access until 4 p.m.
At 11 a.m. there will be a special blessing of thankfulness for the bridge and laying a wreath in Oregon Inlet to honor the close connection between the people of the Outer Bank and the inlet.
Parking will be available at the parking lot adjacent to the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, and the event is free and open to the public.
Scooters, skateboards and roller blades will not be allowed on the bridge for safety.
The new bridge will replace the 55-year-old Bonner Bridge connecting Hatteras Island to the rest of the Outer Banks.
Contractors are currently installing guardrails and expansion joints as well as adding traction grooves to the bridge’s deck, while workers from Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative are finishing work to attach power lines to the new structure.
Once all the finishing touches are complete, workers will paint lane markings on the new bridge and traffic will be shifted. After the new bridge is open, crews will begin dismantling the old bridge.
The Bonner Bridge Replacement Project began in March 2016. The new $252 million bridge is 2.8 miles long, 90 feet high at its apex, and is designed for a 100-year life span.