Skip to comments.Confusion, chaos, and outrage reign as DOT suddenly decides to close Bonner Bridge (NC OBX)
Posted on 12/04/2013 5:26:20 AM PST by Rebelbase
Confusion, chaos, and outrage reigned after the North Carolina Department of Transportations sudden decision today to close the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet immediately.
The decision came just days after an inspection of scouring around pilings last Friday, followed by a DOT news release on Saturday that the bridge was safe and would remain open.
Hatteras residents headed north this morning for shopping or appointments and vendors and contractors headed south, unaware that their return route was about to be cut off.
Hatteras Island residents waiting at the north end of the bridge this afternoon in hopes of returning said they werent expecting this.
Dozens of vehicles, filled with islanders caught by surprise by the 3 p.m. bridge closure, lined up north of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, hoping that state transportation officials would allow them through.
Are you going to let me take my mother home? Annette ONeal from Salvo asked the NCDOT worker stationed at the end of the bridge, who declined to give his name. She has heart problems. She has fluid on her lungs. Shes 95-years old. I need to get her home.
ONeal said that she received no warning nothing, about the closure.
This is the stupidest mess Ive ever seen, she said. Its ridiculous.
Several people pleaded with the DOT worker, who for a time was the only person the frustrated drivers could appeal to. Several mentioned the line of northbound vehicles that were allowed to cross after the southbound traffic was stopped.
After I got here at about 3:30 p.m, I saw about a dozen out of state plates drive across and Ive been waiting here ever since then, said Wendy Angelucci of Frisco. I dont understand why they let the out-of-staters cross and not let the locals back.
Traffic southbound of the bridge was stopped about 3 p.m., while northbound traffic continued to cross until about 45 minutes later.
Pat Weston of Avon was on her way back home with her husband, Jim, after his heart surgery in Norfolk.
Were just trying to get back home, she said, with Jim sitting on the passenger side.
As soon as he got discharged, we were heading back home.
Numerous people said that they had heard at some point today most cited from a friend, a family member or the radio- that the bridge was closing at 4 p.m. A NCDOT worker who declined to give his name said that the bridge was closed an hour earlier than expected because of safety concerns.
Pat McClain, whose vehicle had New Jersey plates, said he was on his way to work for Great Lakes, the dredge company working in Oregon Inlet. McClain said that he was told to get to work by 3:30 p.m. because the bridge would close at 4 p.m. But after waiting for more than an hour, he gave up and turned his truck around.
Others said they were willing to take the chance of plunging into the inlet, even promising to sign a waiver.
Well hold hands, said Jackie Burrus Poteate, a Hatteras native.
Poteate said she was worried about her husband waiting back home because he was alone and had a heart condition. The driver, her daughter, Terri Poteet agreed.
Were just trying to get home, she said. Well take the risk.
Carol Williams Anderson of Buxton said she thinks the whole situation didnt make any sense.
I think its a conspiracy of the local and state governments to close our island down, she said. I think its a political game to put pressure on to get the bridge built.
An interview with Gov. Pat McCrory late this afternoon by reporter Sam Walker broadcast by Max Radio reinforced Andersons view.
Were being blocked by lawsuits, the governor said. The new bridge should have already been under construction.
Two environmental groups, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, have sued the state over the permitting of the bridge, and the project has been stayed by the courts for months.
Were being stopped by some pretty left-wing environmental groups that I dont think have the best interest of the public in mind.
McCrory said that people should put public political pressure on these groups.
Initially, people were told they could walk across the two-mile bridge, but after a worker let someone cross on foot, officials said that there would be no access whatsoever permitted on the bridge. One man did anyway, daring the DOT worker to arrest him. He was not stopped, and police arrived soon to again enforce the closure.
For more than an hour after the bridge closed, most everybody in line waited in place, hoping they would eventually be allowed to cross. Although there was a sign at Whalebone Junction warning of the bridge being closed, a few additional vehicles continued to drive on and took their place at the back of the line.
Jeff Pope, a Buxton property owner who lives in Rocky Mount, said he drove to Outer Banks after reading online about the bridge situation and was reassured by DOT reports that the bridge was safe.
Ive been following the bridge news, he said. It was like, Cmon everythings fine. However . . . , he said. I left at about 2 oclock, and here I am.
Some drivers wondered aloud what would happen if they drove around the barricade and went over the bridge. One person said if they all did it together, no one could stop them. But by 5 p.m., everyone had given up and turned around.
The scene all afternoon at the south end of the bridge on Pea Island was much the same though there was less traffic lined up. At one point, there were about a dozen vehicles and delivery trucks with drivers who hoped that someone would let them cross before the bridge was finally closed.
It would have been nice to have gotten some notice, said Brian Hardison of Kill Devil Hills. He works at Good Winds Café in Salvo, which is already closed. However, he was back down today to do end-of-the-season cleaning.
Dan Jones of Manteo, who was trying to get home after his first day of work on the island, said hed heard that this kind of thing can happen on Hatteras, but he agreed that some notice would have been nice.
At one point, Dare County sheriffs deputies were discussing with DOT when the last vehicles could cross over before the closure.
When the word came shortly after 4 p.m. that there would be no more traffic allowed to cross the bridge, drivers started their engines in unison to turn around and race back to Rodanthe to catch a 6 p.m. emergency ferry to Stumpy Point.
By 4:30 p.m. there were already two stacking lanes of traffic at the Rodanthe ferry docks that spilled out onto Highway 12 and backed up almost to Island Convenience. In the line were delivery trucks, vehicles, and road pavers.
The ferry to Stumpy Point loaded up and left before 6 p.m., leaving another boatload to get the next scheduled ferry at midnight.
Two ferries were scheduled from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe at 9:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m.
Tomorrow morning the emergency ferry will begin a regular schedule.
The announced schedule for the emergency ferry route is:
Departing from Stumpy Point: 5 a.m., 6:30, 8, 9:30, 11, 12:30p.m., 2, 3:30, 5, and 9:30 p.m.
Departing from Rodanthe: 6a.m., 7:30, 9, 10:30, Noon, 1:30 p.m., 3, 4:30, 6, and 7:30.
The enviro nazis harassed the process of getting a new bridge approved and have succeeded in at least temporarily creating another no-go zone, this time for 1/2 the OBX.
The only bright spot is that it's the off-season so there's 6 months or so to find a work around.
Oh my, what a mess indeed. Stupid!!
Evidently, someone spotted Mothman last night.
Good grief. This reminds one of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s accounts of the USSR’s miserable attempts to run things. He contended that the cruel treatment of Russian citizens was due to the fecklessness of bureaucracies that were unconcerned with the collateral damage of their policies....like Obama and the Democrat Party today.
So naturally they are using any and every means to that end. Closing the few miles of beaches used by people for stupid birds that have literally dozens of miles of national seashore beach next door. Now this game with the bridge. It may not be high summer season, but there is a fishing season there too. All of this is intended to put people out of business, reduce vacation home values, and generally reduce the human footprint on the islands. It is a war people, a war between the freedom loving islanders and the self-appointed do-gooders. My money is on the islanders. They've withstood far worse than these wimps. My money is also on the islanders at being far better at taking care of their island than some latte sipping city punk.
I’d like to get a look at that duck. Must be a big one.
Different bridge and probably fake:
I love spending time surf fishing the Inlet!! Deep sea fished out of the Fishing Center many times. (now a little cost prohibitive) Beautiful area.
My wife is supposed to throw my ashes off that bridge with the outgoing tide when I die. Govmint screws up everything it touches. I am not planning of dying anytime soon but still!!
“My wife is supposed to throw my ashes off that bridge with the outgoing tide when I die”
Be sure to tell her to do it when the wind is blowing offshore or else she’ll be wearing you home.
Here in Southern Md. we have a bridges that goes from St. Mary’s County to Calvert County, This bridge has become a necessity for many commuters.
The day after the Bridge was built it was determined to be unsafe. The State placed bands around the columns that hold it up to keep the cement from disintegrating. This bridge is heavily used and an accident on it can hold up rush hour people for two or three hours.
We all know the condition of the Bridge. Governor O’Malley knows the condition of the Bridge, but he would rather spend money in Annapolis and Baltimore than for a Bridge in Southern Md.. One day this bridge will be closed and thousands will have to make a near 75 mile trip t go around every day. I feel the pain of the Hatteras people and see it coming here.
I’ve been vacationing on Hatteras for years, love the place, beaches the way they used to be. Largely undeveloped, uncrowded, unpretentious. Just wind, water, sky, sand and vegetation with a few villages scattered up and down. Affordable too, not stratospheric like other beach areas.
They want to shut it down like Portsmouth, imho. The beach driving ban was an earlier salvo in the same war.
When it comes to NC 12 and the NCDOT, i give those guys two thumbs up.They are definatley not the problem. This is problem rests squarely on the shoulders of the environmentalists.
When this bridge suffered a dredge barge being shoved into it one night by a surprise storm knocking a 500 foot hole in it, NCDOT built ferry docks and brought in ferries in record time.
When the bridge was deemed unsafe yesterday, they didn’t mess around and closed it for safety reasons. but they had ferries brought in and running within 6 hours.
NC12 south of the bridge is routinely wiped out and NCDOT gets it back open asap.
I don’t believe the NC government is totally at fault for not replacing the bridge.
From what I recall, the NCDOT has approved the build new bridge project but several environmental groups have taken the State to court blocking the new construction. The environmentalists want a lengthy causeway on the sound side, by-passing all of the island where the sand pipers and sea turtles lay their eggs.And the courts are dragging their feet. What they want is cost prohibitive, IMO. The State wants to just replace the bridge, using the old one until the new one is complete.
Read more here. . .