By Joy Crist, Island Free Press
The speed limit on the Marc Basnight Bridge across Oregon Inlet will likely increase from 45 mph to 55 mph before the summer season arrives, per an update from N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) spokesperson Tim Hass.
The speed limit on the bridge has been 45 mph since first opening to the public on February 25, 2019, and before that, the speed limit was reduced on the old Bonner Bridge as construction activities were underway. In both cases, the speed limit was reduced so that NCDOT activities could be conducted in a safer environment.
“We are still performing some minor work on the interior of the bridge, which means there are times that we need to have vehicles and staff on the bridge surface itself,” stated Hass. “The lower speed limit just means better safety for them.”
In addition, there are a few mandatory steps that must be taken in order to raise the speed limit permanently. “It’s not just a matter of changing the signage,” stated Hass. “The 45 mph speed limit actually started back on the old (Bonner) Bridge when construction started on the new (Basnight) Bridge. Once we’re ready to go to 55, there’s a process that our traffic engineer has to go through to officially change the speed limits back.”
Meanwhile, demolition of the former Bonner Bridge has entered its final stages and was 95% complete as of mid-February, 2021.
About 1,000 feet of the old bridge was left intact on the northern end of the project to serve as a public walkway and fishing pier, and the site is estimated to open to the public sometime this summer.
For more information on local traffic, including real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.