Balfour Beatty has broken ground on the USD 60 million Harkers Island Bridge Replacement project on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The project will replace two 50-year-old bridges to increase capacity for emergency access and evacuation, and reduce congestion and delays for marine vessels and vehicular traffic. Balfour Beatty will construct a single 3,200-foot-long fixed-span bridge to replace the existing Earl C. Memorial Bridge (Bridge No 73) and Bridge No 96 that currently connects the town of Straits to Harkers Island. The new bridge will be built over the straits to the east of the existing bridges and will provide a direct path for drivers traveling to and from the mainland. With a 45-foot navigational clearance, the new bridge will allow boats to pass unimpeded and safely and allow motorists to travel without delays from bridge openings. Once the new bridge is built, Bridge No. 73 will be removed and Carteret County will take ownership of Bridge No. 96, which will be repurposed as a pedestrian bridge to provide access to the center island and a renovated Straits Fishing Pier. Balfour Beatty will leverage the latest technologies including utilizing non-corroding, carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) strands to deliver the new Harkers Island Bridge. As the first NCDOT bridge project to use the corrosion-free CFRP technology, the new Harker Island Bridge is expected to better withstand the elements in the coastal environment, resulting in less maintenance and a longer lifespan for the new bridge. CFRP strands are a proven advancement in transportation technology that performs comparably to steel in the finished product and is lighter and more durable than traditional materials, as recognized by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Innovation Initiative. Construction is expected to be complete in the fall of 2025, with an in-water work moratorium that lasts from April 1 through September 30 each year to protect fish-spawning.