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Bridge designed to avoid flooded road to Outer Banks opens on NC coast

RODANTHE, N.C. — The N.C. Department of Transportation officially opened another bridge on the Outer Banks on Thursday. The bridge will allow residents and tourists to avoid a constantly washed-out route, which is the sole link between the barrier islands and the mainland.

The Rodanthe “Jug Handle” Bridge opened to southbound traffic shortly before noon, and northbound lanes were opened at 12:20 p.m., according to a news release from NCDOT.

Officials delayed the opening in June because pavement markings, which had been installed, did not meet department specifications for quality or reflectivity.

The new 2.4-mile bridge extends over Pamlico Sound between the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and the village of Rodanthe, bypassing a section of N.C. 12 that is extremely vulnerable to ocean overwash. Construction of the $155 million project began in July 2018. That section of N.C. 12 will be removed.

According to a news release, intermittent daytime lane closures on the bridge will be necessary in the coming weeks to allow Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative to connect electric, phone and internet transmission lines onto the new bridge.

The Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge over New Inlet was completed in 2017, and the Marc Basnight Bridge over Oregon Inlet opened in 2019.

(WATCH BELOW: Park service warns of debris along Outer Banks after houses collapse into surf)

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