(WJLA) - A pivotal bridge that ferries residents and tourists of Hatteras Island has been closed abruptly due to safety concerns.
The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which is the only land link between mainland North Carolina and the popular Outer Banks island, has been under close watch over the past several months. During a recent inspection, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials uncovered further issues with scouring and erosion near the bridge's support structure.
Because of those concerns, officials decided Tuesday to immediately close the bridge entirely.
NCDOT has declared a state of emergency as part of the closure, paving the way for repairs to be expedited. In the meantime, the states Ferry Division will step up to move people and cars to and from the island and the mainland.
"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," NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement.
Officials say that the ferries can accommodate up to 760 cars per day. The planned construction of a new bridge between North Carolina and Hatteras Island has not begun.