SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) – The new Surf City bridge in Pender County is one step closer to being a reality.
Today, The N.C. Department of Transportation held a groundbreaking ceremony for the bridge. The $54 million bridge will replace the swing bridge on NC 50/210.
According to a news release, the new bridge was accelerated by more than a year and helps fulfill the Governor’s 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina.
“Replacing aging bridges and improving highway connections are important components of Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “This project plays a key role in fulfilling both of those goals and in supporting mobility, emergency response and economic vitality in this region.”
Tennyson was joined at the groundbreaking by N.C. Board of Transportation Member Sandra Fountain and Surf City Mayor Zander Guy, along with other officials.
The ceremony, held on the island side of the project site, highlighted the many benefits the bridge replacement will provide to residents and visitors.
The new concrete bridge will have a 65-foot vertical clearance that will eliminate the need to open for vessels, and it will require less maintenance than the existing 61-year-old swing bridge. The DOT also says it the size of the bridge will improve emergency access to the mainland as needed, for example, in cases of hurricane evacuation.
The bridge will also be the first over the Intracoastal Waterway to accommodate both bicycle and pedestrians. It will have a multi-use path and separate bicycle lanes. The additional width provided by the bicycle lanes will allow two lanes of traffic to exit the island during evacuations.
The new bridge is expected to open to traffic by mid-September 2019, the final project is expected to be finished by November 2020. It is one of two bridges that provides access to Topsail Island.