OREGON INLET, N.C.

The new $252 million bridge over Oregon Inlet opened Monday with a tractor trailer taking the honor of the first private vehicle to cross.

The bridge, which has been under construction for three years, was first proposed on highway plans three decades ago. Pedestrians and cyclists were allowed to cross the 2.8 mile span on Feb. 9 as part of a celebration marking its structural completion. A formal dedication is set for April 2.

Crews switched the paint lines on N.C. 12 from the old bridge to the new bridge Monday morning and informally allowed traffic to cross following state pilot cars, said Tim Hass, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

It replaces the Bonner Bridge, which was built in 1963 and has been occasionally closed over the years for emergency repairs and reinforcement of its supports.

Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, jeff.hampton@pilotonline.com

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