The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge spanning Oregon Inlet, which was closed abruptly on December 3 because of major safety concerns was re-opened Sunday to all traffic. This “lifeline” to Hatteras Island has been imperiled for several years because of shifting sands surrounding the pilings and general corrosion. NCDOT has thus far deposited over 30,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the channel and deposited it around the bases of the pilings and continue other structural repairs but feel, at least for now, it is safe to cross. The almost two week closure was not only a huge inconvenience to the residents and workers there, but it also posed grave concerns for potential medical emergencies there as well as expectant mothers. The nearest link to the northern Outer Banks and the mainland was through emergency ferry service from Stumpy Point on the mainland to Rodanthe, the northernmost village on Hatteras Island. Plans for a replacement bridge paralleling the existing bridge have been in the works for years, but lawsuits filed by environmental groups have stymied NCDOT from beginning construction.