WSP, on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), has performed numerous roles for the planning of the bridge dating back to 1989, beginning with a feasibility study, a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), a bridge-type study to determine the most practical approach for replacing the original structure, and the initial plans and specifications.
Additional WSP services for NCDOT included conceptual and preliminary design, public involvement, traffic forecasting, and community, economic, recreational and cultural resource impact assessments.
With increasing threats to NC 12 from shoreline erosion south of Oregon Inlet, the project area was expanded to encompass NC 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to Rodanthe. Added to planning and environmental impact studies were multiple alternatives for maintaining a reliable NC 12, while minimizing impacts to the Refuge and Rodanthe.
WSP prepared two supplemental draft EISs and a final EIS for the client, as well as the record of decision (ROD) that was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 2010. The final EIS selected the location for the new bridge over Oregon Inlet and called for final decisions on future phases south of the bridge to be based on the outcomes of an on-going coastline monitoring program. The Phase II Rodathe Bridge was selected based on a new environmental assessment and a 2016 amendment to the 2010 ROD.
Lawsuits filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center delayed the start of construction the Basnight Bridge until a settlement was reached in 2015. Construction on the new bridge began in March 2016.
During Basnight Bridge construction, the firm provided construction inspection services for the new bridge, and structural monitoring of the existing Bonner Bridge.
“The planning, design and construction of this magnificent new structure has lasted three decades, and NCDOT overcame many challenges, particularly in resolving environmental lawsuits,” said Pamela Townsend, Southeast regional manager for transportation at WSP USA. “WSP was proud to serve the department in a variety of roles over many years to complete this critical link in the transportation system of the Outer Banks.”
One way WSP helped develop a Future Ready™ transportation solution to a growing concern for the Outer Banks was through bringing together the contributions of a multidisciplinary team that included community planners, economists, terrestrial and marine biologists, underwater archaeologists, historians, roadway and structural engineers, coastal engineers, hydrologists, air and noise impact analysts and lawyers. Team members included WSP staff, subcontractors, client staff, and FHWA staff.