Stock photo of Bonner Bridge. Courtesy WNCT.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Citing "immediate safety concerns," the N.C. Department of Transportation has closed Bonner Bridge.
The bridge is the only highway access for vehicles between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
The NCDOT said they noticed several problems during a routine sonar scanning. They said too much sand eroded from the bridge's support structure.
"Closing the Bonner Bridge is necessary to keep all travelers safe, but we know it will have a devastating effect on the people who live along and visit the Outer Banks," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. "We will work to safely reopen this vital lifeline quickly, and hope to be able to begin construction on a new bridge as soon as possible."
The NCDOT declared a state of emergency to expedite repairs on the bridge so that it can reopen.
Amid concerns about the condition of the bridge, the NCDOT took steps in 2011 to design a new bridge. Construction was scheduled to begin early 2013, but that process continues to remain on hold as the NCDOT presses through legal issues.