The U.S. Coast Guard has adjusted the depth restrictions for the navigable waters surrounding the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge in North Carolina. Vessels with a draft greater than 5 feet are not allowed within 100 yards of the Bonner Bridge until further notice.
The Bonner Bridge has a fixed channel span with a clearance height of 65 feet that crosses Oregon Inlet. When shoaling impacts safe navigation through the fixed channel span, mariners have attempted to transit through alternate spans, which do not have a bridge fender and protection system.
A bridge strike to an unprotected element of the Bonner Bridge may endanger motorists and mariners or affect the structural stability of the bridge. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports pile supports of the Bonner Bridge have suffered significant section loss and are continually exposed to substructure erosion.