“It’s a great day for all residents and visitors to the Outer Banks,” said North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Board Member Allen Moran, according to the news agency. “This new bridge will be a critical lifeline to the people and the pristine beaches of Hatteras Island for generations to come.”
The bridge, which officially opened to traffic on February 25, is 90 feet above Oregon Inlet at its highest point and features 12-foot-wide vehicle lanes with 8-foot-wide shoulders on each side. It is the first bridge in the state to use stainless reinforcing steel, which will provide extra protection against saltwater corrosion. The bridge’s pilings are also longer and were driven deeper to withstand scour. The bridge is designed and built to last 100 years or more.
Now that the new bridge is open, the old bridge will soon be demolished. The demolition is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year. Only a 1,000-foot section of the south end of the old bridge will remain as a pedestrian walkway and pier.