The Coast Guard established a temporary regulated navigation area Saturday for the navigable waters surrounding the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge in North Carolina.
Vessels with a draft greater than two feet are not allowed within 100 yards of the Bonner Bridge until further notice.
The Army Corps of Engineers plans to deploy a dredge to address the shoaling within the week.
The RNA allows the Coast Guard to impose vessel traffic restrictions within Oregon Inlet to safeguard vessels from shoaling and to reduce the risk of a bridge strike. The Coast Guard will impose restrictions only when necessary based on inlet conditions, and will provide the public with as much advance notice as possible.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports pile supports of the Bonner Bridge have suffered significant section loss and are continually exposed to substructure erosion.
The Bonner Bridge has a fixed channel span with a clearance of 65 feet that crosses Oregon Inlet. When shoaling impacts safe navigation through the fixed channel span, mariners have attempted to transit through alternate spans, which do not have a bridge fender and protection system. A bridge strike to an unprotected element of the Bonner Bridge may endanger motorists and mariners or affect the structural stability of the bridge. This could cause harm to local businesses and residents of Hatteras Island should damage to the bridge impact safe vessel navigation or vehicular traffic.
Mariners are advised that Coast Guard response in the area is limited due to the shoaling.
For further inquiries concerning the dredging, please contact the Army Corps of Engineers public affairs office at 910-251-4626 or via e-mail at Ann.Johnson@usace.army.mil