Hatteras Island, N.C. (WTKR) – The fight wages on to build a replacement span for the aging Bonner Bridge connecting Hatteras Island to mainland Dare County.
The replacement bridge has been on hold with challenges and lawsuits from environmental groups like the Southern Environmental Law Center opposed to the alignment.
Replacing the Bonner Bridge has been on North Carolina’s transportation plan since 1989.
Thursday, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials confirmed to NewsChannel 3 that a hearing on the case has been set for May.
They say a fast ruling in NCDOT’s favor could allow construction on the replacement span to begin in early 2015.
The bridge was closed for 12 days in December 2013 after engineers deemed erosion around pilings of the span had reached critical levels unsafe for travel.
Pat Draisey of Manteo and a friend were two of the last people to travel over the Bonner Bridge before it was closed.
“We got back over the bridge and she called a friend of hers and he said ‘You know, the Bonner Bridge is closed.’ She goes ‘We just came over it.’ ‘No, it’s closed’ ‘We just drove over it.’ – We missed the closing by about 15 minutes,” Draisey recalled.
She’s hopeful that a replacement can be built soon.
“Too many homes down in Hatteras and all those places down there that they really need the access to be able to get out of there for storms and that sort of thing,” Draisey commented.