NC's outer banks dedicate new span

| 8/19/2002

The new 5.2-mile Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge connecting the mainland to Roanoke Island was dedicated on Friday with music and a "bridge walk" led by an antique car- carrying actor, Andy Griffith and North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley.

Motorists, bicyclists, walkers and joggers celebrating the long awaited evacuation route, made the first crossing of the longest bridge in the state, according to the Outer Banks Sentinel.

Sen. Marc Basnight (D-Manteo), Gov. Easley, Lyndo Tippett, state transportation secretary, and Rep. William T. Culpepper (D-Edenton) were also on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners reportedly said the bridge would be an asset to neighboring Hyde and Tyrrell counties, and would "certainly be welcomed in times of emergency if we need to evacuate."

The new $91 million structure over the Croatan Sound is expected to provide relief from bottlenecks. It's part of a bypass around the county seat, Manteo, where U.S. 64 often clogs with bumper-to-bumper traffic.