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Why is the Holden Beach bridge so high?

Holden Beach bridge

An aerial view of the Holden Beach bridge. (StarNews file photo)

Here’s the full question:

“Of all the bridges to the Brunswick beaches – Oak Island, Holden Beach, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beach – the one to Holden Beach appears to be the highest and hooks far to the right as you get to the ocean side. Why is it so much higher? Why does it hook? Why is the retaining wall so low for such a high bridge?”

And the answer:

N.C. Department of Transportation Division 3 Bridge Program Manager Amanda Glynn explained the vertical clearance over the Intracoastal Waterway channel is 65 feet from mean high water – the U.S. Coast Guard’s requirement for minimum vertical clearance – on all the bridges mentioned.

To reach the required vertical clearance over the main channel at Holden Beach, the bridge had to turn to allow enough room to tie it to the elevation on the island.

“If the bridge had continued straight, it would have had a very steep slope so that it could intersect with Ocean Boulevard,” Glynn explained.

The “retaining wall,” is actually a barrier rail, constructed to meet the design standards in effect in 1985 when the bridge was built.

User-contributed question by:
Mike Dolan

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