RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — The bridge that connects Tyrrell and Dare counties is one step closer to being replaced after a federal grant was received.

The project would replace the Alligator River Bridge, a swing-span, one-lane bridge, with a two-lane, high-rise bridge. It’s expected to cost $268 million overall. The grant covers $110 million and is labeled as the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant, which comes from the US Department of Transportation.

“This bridge is a lifeline for the people of North Carolina both to and from the Barrier Islands,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “It is one of the few options residents and visitors have for accessing our far eastern counties and this bridge replacement will serve our state for decades to come.

“This is a great example of how President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law helps move along large projects that otherwise would be difficult to fund through traditional means.”

Courtesy of N.C. Department of Transportation

The Alligator River Bridge, officially named the Lindsay B. Warren Bridge, was completed in 1962. The state estimates more than 4,000 boats pass through the area each year, prompting traffic to stop so the bridge can be opened to allow the boats to pass through. Technical issues have forced drivers to take detours up to 100 miles.

“This grant is a big win for Dare and Tyrrell Counties and will ensure a safe and reliable bridge for generations to come,” said Senator Thom Tillis. “I am proud to have advocated for this funding, and thank local officials in both counties for their tireless advocacy for this grant as well. It’s clear that the bipartisan infrastructure law is already bringing major investments to our great state.”

“This is a big boost for Eastern North Carolina,” said Win Bridgers, Division One Engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation. “A new fixed-span bridge over the Alligator River would aid everything from economic development to hurricane evacuation.”

The proposed replacement project would build a new two-lane fixed-span bridge just to the north of the old one, allowing both marine and vehicle traffic to pass unimpeded. NCDOT is planning for construction to begin no later than 2025.