Wright Memorial Bridge

Wright Memorial Bridge
Coordinates 36°05′22″N 75°45′21″W / 36.08944°N 75.75583°W / 36.08944; -75.75583Coordinates: 36°05′22″N 75°45′21″W / 36.08944°N 75.75583°W / 36.08944; -75.75583
Carries 4 lanes of US 158
Crosses Currituck Sound
Locale Currituck and Dare Counties
Other name(s) Currituck Sound Bridge
Named for Wright brothers
Maintained by NCDOT
Design Segmented girder (westbound)
Concrete slab (eastbound)
Material Prestressed concrete
Total length 14,927.9 feet (4,550.0 m) (westbound)
14,867.9 feet (4,531.7 m) (eastbound)
Width 38.4 feet (11.7 m) (westbound)
33.8 feet (10.3 m) (eastbound)
Opened 1995 (westbound)
1966 (eastbound)
Daily traffic 8,000 (as of 2011)

The Wright Memorial Bridge comprises two automobile bridges spanning the Currituck Sound, between Point Harbor, in Currituck County, and Kitty Hawk, in Dare County. The bridges carry US 158 and are dedicated to the Wright brothers.


Wright Memorial Bridge I

The first bridge opened on September 27, 1930; built by the W.L. Jones Company of Elizabeth City and owned by the Wright Memorial Bridge Company. Entirely made of wood, the 3-mile (4.8 km) span took six months to construct, at a cost of $225,000. A toll bridge costing $1 per trip, it became the official gateway to the Outer Banks and even featured an archway at the Kitty Hawk end that read "Dare County" at top, "1583 Birthplace of a Nation" on left, and "1903 Birthplace of Aviation" on right. The bridge replaced a privately run ferry service between Point Harbor and Kitty Hawk.[4][5][6]

In June 1935, the State Highway Commission purchased the Wright Memorial Bridge for $150,000 and removed the toll.[7] In 1934, NC 344 was replaced by NC 34; which was later replaced by US 158 in 1941.[8][9] In 1966, the first Wright Memorial Bridge was replaced and razed.[4][10]

Wright Memorial Bridge II

The second and current eastbound bridge opened in 1966, replacing the first Wright Memorial Bridge. The new two-lane concrete slab bridge allowed a 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) speed limit, an improvement to the former bridge's 25 miles per hour (40 km/h) speed limit. In 1995 a second parallel bridge was constructed to alleviate traffic, which became the westbound bridge. The older eastbound bridge was reconstructed in 1997. Both bridges together provide four lanes of traffic.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Uglybridges.com: US158 EBL over Croatan Sound". Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  2. ^ "Uglybridges.com: US158 WBL over Croatan Sound". Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Bridgehunter.com: Wright Memorial Bridge". Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "Wright Memorial Bridge". ICWNET. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Downing, Sarah (2014). On This Day in Outer Banks History. The History Press. ISBN 978-1-62619-282-9.
  6. ^ Bachman, Karen (2007). Insiders' Guide to North Carolina's Outer Banks. The Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 978-0-7627-4408-4.
  7. ^ Daily Advance (Elizabeth City, NC), June 20, 1935
  8. ^ North Carolina County Road Survey 1936 (PDF) (Map). Cartography by NCSHC / NCSTC / U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. North Carolina State Tax Commission. 1936. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  9. ^ North Carolina Primary Highway System (PDF) (Map). Cartography by NCDOT. North Carolina State Highway and Public Works Commission. 1951. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  10. ^ "NCDOT: History of Bridge Building in NC". North Carolina Department of Transportation. June 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2015.

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