OUTER BANKS -

Work is about to begin on two projects to repair the aging Bonner Bridge to keep it open as the sole land link between the North Carolina Outer Banks and the mainland.

The N.C. Department of Transportation announced Friday that it will begin the first of two additional repair projects this fall. The two projects total $2 million.

Beginning Monday, NCDOT will close a one-lane section stretching over a half-mile  so crews can access girders and the underside of the bridge deck to make concrete repairs. As a part of the project, crews will apply concrete patches to areas of the bridge to protect exposed steel. Those areas were identified for priority maintenance during the last regular two-year inspection of the bridge that took place in 2012.

Lane closures will be in effect Monday through Friday during daylight hours through the end of the year. Portable traffic signals and/or flag crews will be used to control traffic. The department says there will be no land closures during the weekend. In the event of severe weather, the crews will stop work and reopen the entire bridge to traffic.

The second repair project, totaling $1.4 million, includes repairs to the supplemental supports of the bridge and is scheduled to begin later this month.

Also, crews will be conducting surveys of the bridge as part of the department's monitoring plan.

Earlier this week, a 4-foot-long piece of concrete fell from underneath the bridge in one of the areas that will be repaired. Currently, the Bonner Bridge remains safe for travel.

On Monday, a federal judge approved plans for a parallel span to replace the 50-year-old bridge.