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3 months after ceremony, Outer Banks bridge still isn't open

The Rodanthe Bridge under construction in 2020 in Pamlico Sound, looking toward Rodanthe.
North Carolina Department of Transportation
The Rodanthe Bridge under construction in 2020 in Pamlico Sound, looking toward Rodanthe.

A new bridge that shifts the main road on North Carolina's Outer Banks off a frequently-flooded section of Hatteras Island still isn't open, three months after officials held a grand opening. State transportation officials blame the holdup on poor-quality pavement markings.

The $155 million Rodanthe bridge has been under construction since 2018. It shifts the road away from Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and into Pamlico Sound in a shape described as a "jughandle." It returns to the island in the town of Rodanthe.

Back in April, the North Carolina Department of Transportation opened the 2.4-mile bridge for a day to walkers, runners and cyclists, and promised cars would soon follow. In early June, officials announced a delay, saying pavement markings by a contractor didn't meet the DOT's quality or reflectivity standards.

Another contractor was hired, but NCDOT spokesman Tim Hass said that "several mechanical issues" are delaying the work.

"The Rodanthe Bridge has not yet opened. The pavement marking subcontractor has experienced several mechanical issues that delayed the removal/repainting of the bridge deck and bridge approaches," Hass said in an email.

Hass said he's not sure when the bridge might open.

"(There's) not a projected date, per se, but as soon as the new paint is down and dry, it will happen pretty quickly, " Hass said.

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Corrected: August 15, 2022 at 2:27 PM EDT
The spelling of Tim Hass's name has been corrected.
David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.