Bonner Bridge reopens between Hatteras Island and North Carolina

The Bonner Bridge is the only land link between North Carolina and Hatteras Island. Photo: VBofficial/Flickr

(WJLA) - After an abrupt two-week closure that left residents of the Outer Banks stranded and angry, a key bridge linking the islands to the mainland has reopened.

The Bonner Bridge, which connects Hatteras Island to mainland North Carolina, reopened late Sunday afternoon after two weeks of emergency repairs. Transportation officials say the 50-year-old bridge is once again safe for driving after repeated sonar scans and inspections.

The bridge suddenly closed to all traffic on Dec. 3 after inspections revealed major scouring and erosion problems near several support structures.

After the closure, NCDOT officials declared a state of emergency, which authorized expedited repairs to take place. Ferry service was also established between the island and North Carolina.

"This again highlights the need to replace the bridge as soon as possible and our administration will continue to fight to get that done," North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said in a statement.

During repairs, work crews pumped 30,000 cubic yards of sand to mitigate the erosion.

State Transportation Secretary Tony Tata says that close monitoring of the bridge will continue into the forseeable future.