The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which carries N.C. 12 over Oregon Inlet between Hatteras and Bodie islands, is well past its design life and is being replaced with a new bridge that will better withstand its coastal environment.

The new bridge was officially named the Marc Basnight Bridge. The $252 million bridge opened to traffic Feb. 25. It replaces the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which opened in 1964 and greatly outlived its 30-year lifespan.

More than 100 engineers were involved in the planning and design of the bridge, which is built to last more than 100 years. It is the first bridge in the state to be built with stainless reinforcing steel, which will help it better withstand the harsh saltwater environment. With pilings embedded as deep as 130 feet into the bottom of Oregon Inlet, it is capable of withstanding up to 84 feet of scour, which is when sand is washed away from the pilings. It also will provide safer passage in and out of the inlet for marine traffic, providing seven navigational spans compared to just one under the Bonner Bridge.

The NEX® System was utilized for concrete temperature monitoring throughout the project, and for mass concrete specification compliance.