bonner bridge

More than 2,000 people braved the winds to cross the new bridge of Oregon Inlet on Saturday.

OREGON INLET, N.C.

The new bridge over Oregon Inlet will be named for Marc Basnight, a former state senator.

The 2.8-mile-long bridge opened for traffic on Feb. 25, officially replacing the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge built in 1963.

The state transportation board voted Thursday morning for the name change based largely on a resolution from the Dare County Board of Commissioners. The county board voted 3 to 2 for the change. Town councils of Kill Devil Hills, Manteo and Nags Head also supported the Basnight name, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Hundreds of Hatteras Island residents started a Facebook page in support of keeping the Bonner name. The group sent a petition with 1,350 signatures to the state board.

Basnight, a native of Manteo, started a popular local restaurant and served in the state senate from 1984 until 2011 before resigning for health reasons. He served as senate president pro tempore from 1993 to 2010, the longest ever. Basnight was a proponent of the replacement bridge.

Bonner was a U.S. congressman from North Carolina for 25 years until 1965. He was instrumental in getting funding for the bridge which replaced a ferry service. A 1,000 foot section of the old bridge will be kept as a walkway and fishing pier and retain Bonner’s name.

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

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