Demolition of the now-closed Herbert C. Bonner Bridge is just beyond the halfway point, while N.C. 12 on northern Pea Island is getting a new layer of asphalt this week.
Work to tear down the bridge that carried N.C. 12 over Oregon Inlet for more than 60 years has been taking place at both ends since the Marc Basnight Bridge opened last winter.
“The work continues, and we’re at about 52 percent completion,” said N.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Hass. It was originally planned for the Bonner demolition to be finished by the end of 2019.
Each section of the old bridge deck is cut in half. Then the supports are dismantled and removed from the bottom. The concrete is then loaded onto barges for transport to several existing offshore reefs for disposal.
Hass said the contractor handling the tear down has had to work through issues with shoaling of the ocean bar off the inlet preventing the barges from moving offshore, and they found underwater obstructions around the old bridge that has slowed removal of pilings.
On the north end of Pea Island, about 1,000 feet of the old bridge remains to be converted into a public walkway and fishing pier that is expected to open sometime this year.
“As far as the pier conversion goes, we’re continuing to coordinate that with the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife,” Hass said.
Meanwhile just south of the inlet, contractors have been working this week on repaving a roughly 2.5 mile stretch of N.C. 12 through what’s known as The Canal Zone.
The area is constantly battered by waves and wind, pushing sand and water across the highway.
But the excavators, graders and bulldozers used by NCDOT crews to keep the road open causes higher-than-normal wear of the road surface, which required the repave.
Travelers can expect single lane closures through The Canal Zone until the resurfacing is completed.