12/15/13 At 4 PM today it was announce by the NCDOT that the "Bonner Bridge was "safe for traffic for now" and officially re-opened the bridge. The efforts of NCDOT to sure up the bride and add sand back to the scoured area around the piers seems to be successful as a temporary repair, however they will be keeping a close watch on the condition of the bridge piers until a settlement can be made for a permanent replacement of the outdated Bonner Bridge.
12/12/13 Preliminary results from a diver inspection were released yesterday and officials are optimistic that the Bonner Bridge may open earlier then first thought. "The bridge could open within a week or as late as March", said state District I engineer Jerry Jennings.
A dredge has moved 30,000 cubic yards of sand over the weekend to fill in the eroded area around the exposed pilings. Depending on how securely the dredged sand packs down around the pilings and the full results of Wednesday's inspection, being released today, travelers, locals and venders may soon be using the bridge again.
12/11/13 Last week (December 4, 2013) the main driving route to North Carolina's Hatteras Island was cut off when the Bonner Bridge (AKA Oregon Inlet Bridge) was closed due to structural concerns. While the battle between the NCDOT and two environmentalists groups continues to delay the building of a replacement bridge, a temporary repair of the bridge is underway. In the mean time the residents, vacationers and vendors are left waiting in long lines at either Stumpy Point or Rodanthe temporary ferry stations to make the 2+ hour crossing of the Pamlico Sound. On Saturday the 7th some travelers had to wait nearly 4 hours just to get a spot on the ferry. Due to the low tide and north wind water depth in the sound were lower then normal making it impossible for a fully loaded ferry to get across without running aground. One ferry operator told fishzoo that "one boat carrying a bulldozer came to a complete stop due to the added weight" As a result the ferries were loaded well below capacity compounding the delay problem. Here are some travel suggestions:
1. Bring lots of patience and something to pass the time, a good book or scrabble, rather than stew over the long wait and what appears to be official vehicles and vender trucks being waved around you to the front of the line.
2. Before heading to or from Hatteras Island you should check the ferry schedule and plan your arrival at low traffic hours if possible.
3. If your travel plans must be during prime time hours... PLAN TO WAIT! Its likely going to be a few hours. Don't go there thinking your going to get on the next boat because it probably won't happen. (see suggestion 1.)
5. Make sure you have enough fuel when heading to Stumpy Point to go at least 15 miles to the first gas station in Manteo.