State and federal officials discuss Alligator River Bridge replacement

COLUMBIA, N.C. (WITN) – State and federal officials were in Tyrrell County Thursday to discuss a huge chunk of money coming to Eastern Carolina to replace a vital bridge.

Governor Roy Cooper, Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, as well as state and local officials, were at the Alligator River Bridge to talk about the bridge replacement project and the Mega Grant that is helping to fund it.

Distribution of the funds awarded as a result of an infrastructure law passed in 2021.

In January the North Carolina Department of Transportation was notified about the $110 million grant, a direct result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

Cooper said, “For public safety, getting people from one place to the next has been part of these generational investments that we’ve been making.”

The grant will significantly offset the costs to replace the bridge and get rid of the need for emergency maintenance and preservation costs for the existing bridge.

The current bridge, completed in 1962, is a two-lane, 2.8-mile swing-span bridge on U.S. 64 over the Alligator River between Tyrrell and Dare counties. It is the main link to the Outer Banks for most of North Carolina.

The bridge is on a Strategic Transportation Corridor and a designated hurricane evacuation route. It also crosses the Intracoastal Waterway.

It has been described as “structurally deficient’ and at the end of its useful design life, Recent mechanical issues have caused long backups and detours for vehicular and maritime traffic.

The NCDOT will be replacing the existing bridge with a two-lane, fixed-span bridge just to the north of the existing one, eliminating the need for vehicles to stop for passing boats.

The Alligator River Bridge is one of only nine projects nationwide to receive a Mega Grant, which is part of President Biden’s historic infrastructure law. These grants fund projects too large or complex for traditional funding programs.