May 11, 2007

Va. Pilot- Bonner Bridge news

Bonner Bridge

originally uploaded by jennyk325.

The Va. Pilot NC section reports this morning that NC DOT has endorsed the short version of the Bonner Bridge replacement plans. More specifically they endorsed a strategy suggested by the Bush administration that the bridge be built first then strategies for dealing with erosion on Pea Island would be developed. This step shouldn't surprise anyone. The state has little choice. It can't afford the one billion dollar short term price for a long bridge. The state also realizes that the bridge needs to be replaced--NOW. I have some differences with , author of the Outer Banks Republic blog (I hope I pronounced that correctly) but he got it right when he wrote:
Dare County (yes, the entire county) needs the Bridge repaired, and we need it NOW. So, write letters, donate money to this cause, buy a yard sign or a bumper sticker. Raise hell. Raise money. Raise your voice. Avoid tweaking the noses of those who didn't help us back in the day. If Hatteras truly becomes an "island" the resulting economic loss will be nothing short of a catastrophe.

Unfortunately I expect that we are still in for a long struggle over the replacement. The environmental groups involved in issues surrounding Oregon Inlet have a history of intransigence and legal wrangling, don't expect them to go accept any answer except the long bridge, ever. Whatever you think of the plan for stabilizing the inlet its clear that environmental opposition blocked the plan with a mix of lobbying and regulatory tom-foolery. They will do the same to the short bridge. The Pilot reported these comments from the opposition:
"It makes the refuge a continual construction zone for 20 years," said Noah Matson, the director of the national refuge program for the Defenders of Wildlife.
Matson said that in the long run, the series of bridges would limit access to the refuge, he said, and erosion would create an emergency that would force the refuge to allow the road to be moved. And ultimately, it would cost a lot more than a long bridge....
Sidney Maddock, northern Outer Banks field technician for Audubon North Carolina, said he found it ironic that just a day before DOT announced its decision, N.C. 12 was closed in Rodanthe because of ocean overwash.
"It's just amazing that DOT is going to do this," he said. "It's just a ridiculous idea."

From Nags Head spending $1,000,000,000 for a bridge you could build for a quarter the price is ridiculous. Yes, there will be additional costs but all these issues will become immaterial when the bridge collapses and Hatteras Island is cut off. Lets hope that the opponents of this plan find a way to meet DOT part way, accommodate the short bridge and develop the best plan to keep Hwy. 12 open. that is the only way we will avoid a tragic end.
For my part I will add the "Build the Bridge" logo to this blog later today and I encourage everyone who reads this to do the same. Lets send a message that, to paraphrase John Donne, 'no island is an island'. We need a bridge and we need it now. DOT has taken a small step in that direction, lets show our support.


At 5:19 AM, Blogger Paula the Surf Mom said...

I'm all for environmental responsibility but I think it's silly to build a 17 mile long bridge, when you can just rebuild a 2 mile long bridge.


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