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Emergency repairs complete on Bonner Bridge

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NAGS HEAD, N.C. - Emergency repairs on the Bonner Bridge are done.

And transportation officials say it could open to drivers again sometime next week.

Crews are waiting to see if the sand dredged and placed on exposed bridge supports compacts well.
   
Divers and sonar equipment surveyed the work Wednesday from underwater.
    
So far, initial reports say the result appears better than expected.
    
A dredge dug 30,000 cubic yards of sand over the weekend to repair erosion.
   
If it doesn't take, transportation officials say it could be March before the bridge is safe to drive.

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N.C. Department of Transportation crews conducted several tests and surveys Wednesday on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet. These tests will help the department evaluate the overall effectiveness of the sand placed in the area where erosion occurred. We’re told results of the tests should be available Thursday.


As part of the testing, crews with NCDOT’s Location and Surveys Unit conducted an underwater sonar survey. Dive crews also inspected the area to see if the sand is compacting as it needs to in order to properly support the bridge.

NCDOT crews will use the data gathered to figure out what’s next for the troubled bridge. The agency issued a state of emergency and closed the Bonner Bridge December 3.

NCDOT Engineer Jerry Jennings says the timeframe for reopening the bridge could be a week from now or up to 90 days, depending on the findings of the assessment and timeline for repairs.

Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand were pumped over the weekend from the main navigation channel of the Oregon Inlet to the location under the Bonner Bridge where the erosion of sand from bridge pilings occurred. 

Until the bridge is fixed, NCDOT’s Ferry Division is transporting people and cars to and from Hatteras Island.  The emergency route will continue seven days a week as long as service is needed. Ferry information is available on the Ferry Division website, or by calling 800-293-3779.

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