RALEIGH, N.C. -

Of North Carolina's 13,500 bridges, more than 5,000 are considered deficient or obsolete.
    
And one of those has been the subject of court fights as the state is in its 15th year of trying to replace it.
    
The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge is a 2.5-mile span over the Oregon Inlet that connects as many as 13,000 vehicles with the mainland during peak summer travel days. The bridge was built in 1963 and was meant to last 30 years.
    
Residents and state officials say something could happen at any moment that would require its closure.
    
Environmentalists have sued to stop a new bridge and instead support a 17-mile bridge into the Pamlico Sound. A federal judge has that lawsuit. If she rules in the state's favor, DOT says it's ready to start on a new bridge immediately.

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