12/9 UPDATE: Crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company LLC Dredge Alaska completed dredging operations Sunday night at the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.
Officials said the initial scans were "promising" but says it will be several days before they can determine the success of the dredging.
“I want to sincerely thank all of the hardworking NCDOT crews and the dredge crews for pushing through the harsh elements to try to complete this repair work as soon as possible,” said Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. “I also want to thank the residents of the Outer Banks for their patience during this process, and our outstanding NC Ferry employees for all of their efforts to keep the residents connected.”
To give sand time to settle and compact, NCDOT engineers say they are currently planning to perform another dive and sonar survey at Bent 166 on Wednesday.
12/6 UPDATE: Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)wrote a letter asking for quick approval of emergency permits by the Army Corps of Engineers. Read the letter here.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Dredging began Friday as repairs to the closed Bonner Bridge get under way.
Gov. Pat McCrory's office said in a news release Thursday that dredging in Oregon Inlet will take two days, weather and current permitting.
The dredge will remove sand from the inlet's main navigation channel and deposit to an area under the bridge, which provides the only road access between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
Once dredging operations are complete, NCDOT crews will perform additional scans and inspections of the piles to determine the next steps necessary in reopening the bridge.
The state closed the bridge Tuesday after learning the Oregon Inlet has scoured out sand around the base of supports at the southern end. Department of Transportation officials have said reopening the bridge will require fortifying the bridge's support columns and bringing in additional sand.
NCDOT earlier this week awarded a $1.6 million contract to Carolina Bridge Company Inc. of Orangeburg, S.C. for emergency repairs on the bridge. NCDOT and the contractor are working together to develop a timeframe for the repairs to be complete.
NCDOT says as part of the emergency repair project, crews will use sandbags and four-foot tall A-Jacks to provide support to the bridge pilings. A-Jacks locked together will be placed in a perimeter around the support structure of the bridge. Crews will then fill the perimeter with sandbags to provide support to the pilings. An additional two layers of A-Jacks and sandbags will then be placed on top of the base layer for a total of 10-12 feet of protection. This will allow sand to collect over the sandbags and A-Jacks, providing additional support to the structure.
Meantime, NCDOT's ferry division added more runs. A ferry will leave from Stumpy Point at 11 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. and from Rodanthe at midnight and 1:30 a.m.
Fuel supply trucks will have designated runs on Tuesdays and Fridays from Stumpy Point and from Rodanthe to allow more deck space for regular vehicles on other runs.
The ferry division is also amending its regular Pamlico Sound schedule, adding another round trip to its Swan Quarter/Ocracoke route beginning next Tuesday with an additional departure from Ocracoke at 7 p.m. and from Swan Quarter at 10 p.m.