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Contract awarded for Rodanthe jug handle bridge

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An artist’s rendering of what the proposed bridge will look like.

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With the recent awarding of a contract, a new bridge around Rodanthe may be a reality by the summer of 2020.

The N.C. Dept. of Transportation awarded a design-build contract to Flatiron Constructors, Inc., of Broomfield, Colo., to build the 2.4-mile-long bridge, known as a “jug handle,” scheduled to begin construction next January after design and permitting have been completed.

This new bridge, extending from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge over the Pamlico Sound and into Rodanthe, will be a long-term solution to keep N.C. 12 open through an area that is prone to storm damage and ocean over wash.

It complements the replacement of the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet currently under construction.

 “This new bridge will eliminate travel disruptions caused by beach erosion and storm breaches that have resulted in access issues at one of the most vulnerable sections of N.C. 12 for years,” acting transportation secretary Mike Holder said.

In December, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued the last environmental document for the project, which gave final approval to move forward with construction and allowed the NCDOT to award the contract for design and construction.

“We are excited that this long-awaited project will finally begin,” said division engineer Jerry Jennings.

In 2014, 1.6 million cubic yards of dredged sand was deposited around Rodanthe to protect Highway 12 in this area prone to frequent ocean over wash until a new bridge can be built.

“The construction of the new jug handle bridge will alleviate travel disruptions caused by storm damage and foster the free flow of traffic through the island,” said N.C. Board of Transportation member Malcolm Fearing.

The design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, utility relocation and construction to take place under one contract, which reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists.

Flatiron submitted a bid of $145,336,271.  Last fall, NC DOT published an estimate of the cost between $179.3 million and $198.3 million.

A previously published story can be read here.

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An artist’s conception of the view heading into the proposed new bridge.

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