Topsail Island Bridge Replacement

The Topsail Island Bridge in North Carolina is one of only two bridges linking the popular vacation island to the mainland and is the primary access road for residents of Surf City and South Topsail Beach. The original two-lane swing span bridge was constructed in the 1950s and received a low sufficiency rating in 2006.

RS&H provided planning and design services for the replacement of Bridge No. 16 over the Intracoastal Waterway in Pender County, North Carolina. The previous bridge was a two-lane swing span with a very low sufficiency rating and provided one of only two connections to Topsail Island. We studied the impacts on the constraining physical and environmental features adjacent to the site and developed 16 alternative alignments for replacement.

The extensive public involvement effort included public meetings, newsletters, mailings, websites, phone hotlines, ad-hoc meetings, public official involvement, and stakeholder meetings, where the team’s advanced design visualization tools became an instrumental part of the communication process. The team developed a series of 3-D renderings, photo simulations, and animations for the 16 potential bridge alternatives, which enabled the community to make informed decisions about the project.

Below is the animation of the proposed design of the new bridge.

Project Details

Description Transportation
Public Involvement
Location Pender County, NC
Client/Owner North Carolina Department of Transportation
Awards MOBI Award Winner – Most Voted Project Category, NCDOT, 2020

MOBI Award Honorable Mention – Rural Category, NCDOT, 2020

Quality of Life/Community Development (Medium Project) Award, SASHTO, 2020

Honor Award – Structural Systems Category, ACEC of North Carolina, Engineering Excellence Award

Excellence in Safety Award of Merit – Highway/Bridge, ENR Southeast’s 2019 Best Projects


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