The Old Sunset Beach Bridge
Anyone that knows me knew that I was a fan of the “Old Sunset Beach Bridge.” I loved the sound of old boards creaking when my car crossed over the bridge, how the floating section kept me in touch with the rising and falling of the tides, and I even loved saying, “Sorry we’re late, we were stuck at the bridge,” as if we were members of an elite club. I miss it. I miss knowing that 24 hrs/day there was a dedicated bridge tender watching over the one-lane connection from the cruel world to the peaceful island I call home, especially on these winter nights when there’s so few us on the island. I still catch myself timing everything around the top of the hour, leaving the house at 10 min. till. Again, I miss it. Of course, I’ve mindlessly driven down the road to go to over the old bridge, catching myself & laughing a little. I miss sitting at the red-light and waving to others I know, while we waited for our turn to crossover. I liked watching the boats pass through imagining the adventures that awaited them and tropical waters they would see. My family would say we didn’t mind that old bridge, because it kept us fed for many years. And it certainly did. One man’s vision brought so much to a “Bald Beach” and enhanced countless lives. I will miss it for a long time, but time is a Blessing and works wonders in my life, especially at the beach.
Sadly, Friday, January 7, 2011, the Old Sunset Beach Bridge opened for the very last time. The old bridge was still being used as a service access while English Construction removed the road on the island side leading to the old bridge.
The faithful bridge tenders arrived and signed the log one final time. The center section of the bridge was then floated over to the mainland, very close to the main construction site. The Old Sunset Beach Bridge is currently being relocated on land owned by Ronnie & Clarice Holden near Island Breeze on Shoreline Drive. The Old Bridge will be refurbished and be turned into a museum, all through extensive efforts by The Old Sunset Beach Bridge Preservation Society and their dedicated members. Preserving the Old Sunset Beach Bridge is an expensive task funded by this non-profit society, and any donations to the cause are greatly appreciated.
Just last week, our local news reported that The Sunset Beach Town Council approved a contract to conditionally purchase the waterfront land located between Crabby Oddwaters Restaurant and Twin Lakes Restaurant. The proposed use of this land will be for a Town of Sunset Beach Public Park. The purchase of this land has been debated for some time now, and will not likely be finalized anytime soon. If you’ve visited the island recently, you may have seen the installation process of a Central Sewer System has begun. We recommend following all Sunset Beach, NC updates, including upcoming changes in island parking regulations, by checking with the Town of Sunset Beach’s website.
Today, like every day, I drove over the new high-rise Sunset Beach Bridge and marvel at the view like it’s the first time I’ve seen Sunset Beach from 65 feet. I’m on the journey of learning to love the new bridge. The goats on their island, the birds all around and the endless blue ocean dotted with boats are enjoyable sights from the new bridge. Walking on the bridge is invigorating and many are enjoying the stroll along with the scenery. When the new bridge first opened, you could park on an island side shoulder for a quick walk to the top. It was great! Recently this area has been blocked off for us regular folks, with a sign stating “Emergency Vehicles Only.” Another change you should be aware of is the speed limit. For as long as I can remember, the speed limit on the causeway was 45 mph. NOT ANYMORE. The speed limit is now 35 mph from the moment you drive up the bridge all the way to the stop sign at the pier, and many of us were unaware of this change. Be sure you pay attention, PLEASE don’t get caught speeding.
Last but not least, if you’ve always wanted to own property at Sunset Beach, NC, this is an excellent time for a deal. Prices are low and the possibilities are abundant. An Oceanfront Lot just sold at a price that was unheard-of just a few years ago. Sunset Beach still offers the most gorgeous, spacious beach around providing hours of free entertainment only steps away from an island cottage. Look for all sunset properties for sale on the island at www.sunsetbeachsales.com. Even better, we welcome you to visit Sunset Beach, NC. You just might fall in love with the area and then one day, you’ll miss it.