HATTERAS ISLAND — North Carolina transportation officials say the Bonner Bridge on the Outer Banks could re-open next week if dredged sand placed around exposed pilings compacts well.
The transportation department said crews performed underwater sonar surveys and divers examined part of the bridge Wednesday.
Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus said the initial indications from the review were better than expected.
Transportation district engineer Jerry Jennings says the bridge could reopen next week or as late as March.
The bridge was closed Dec. 3 because sand was washing away from the bridge supports. A dredge dug 30,000 cubic yards of sand over the weekend from the Oregon Inlet channel and put it around pilings.
An emergency ferry route was set up between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point, a 17-mile trip that takes more than two hours.
The state last week gave Carolina Bridge Company of Orangeburg, S.C. a $1.6 million contract to place layers of interlocking jacks and sand bags on both sides of part of the bridge. The contract requires the work to be done in 90 days.