If you’re looking to gain access to Topsail Island and aren’t traveling by boat, you will need to enter the island by traveling over one of the two bridges with connecting access which includes those that are part of State Highway 210 and North Carolina Highway 50 (or NC-50).
Surf City Bridge
Surf City Bridge is the newest bridge to provide roadway access to Topsail Island and was built to replace an old swing bridge that had previously connected the mainland area of The Town of Surf City to the island-side area of the community along State Highway 210 and North Carolina Highway 50 (or NC-50).
Surf City Bridge is considered to be the primary point of access to Topsail Island as it connects locals and visitors to the island’s central region.
The Surf City Bridge is an impressive structure, and while it may not hold the same historic or sentimental value to locals as the retired swing bridge, the 65-foot tall curved bridge boasts impressive views of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) and offers a glimpse of the turquoise shores of Surf City’s Topsail Island beaches.
Originally scheduled to open in September of 2019, the Surf City Bridge made its debut nine months ahead of schedule in December 2018 which included a public ceremony celebrating the bridge’s construction and opening the bridge to pedestrian traffic.
Surf City Bridge was constructed by Balfour Beatty, an International construction firm based in the United Kingdom, but with a local presence in Eastern North Carolina. Balfour Beatty also took on the project of the older swing bridge’s demolition and removal.
The Surf City Bridge project was focused on providing roadway access between the mainland and Topsail Island, but also included significant infrastructure improvements that assist in the flow of traffic during tourist seasons as well as in the event of emergencies.
On both ends of the Surf City Bridge, travelers use a rotary to quickly merge onto routes spanning from the bridge’s base. The bridge also boasts a 39-foot wide roadway which is used for two primary lanes of travel in normal situations, with one lane being used to travel in each direction. The increased road width does allow for officials to dedicate an additional lane in emergency situations permitting for two lanes of travel exiting the island which will be helpful in the event of future emergencies and weather events, including hurricanes.
The Surf City Bridge also includes a concrete-separated lane for pedestrian traffic as well as a dedicated lane for cyclists.
Trooper Larry Walton Memorial Bridge
Trooper Larry Walton Memorial Bridge is the primary means of access to Topsail Island’s northern end along State Highway 210 and connects the communities of Sneads Ferry and the Town of North Topsail Beach.
On January 7, 2000, The North Carolina Board of Transportation passed a resolution with the North Topsail Beach Board of Alderman and the Onslow County Board of Commissioners to name the two-lane high-rise bridge in honor of North Carolina Highway Patrolman Larry Thomas Walton. Walton was killed while conducting a traffic stop in 1972 in Robeson County, near the South Carolina border.
Surf City Swing Bridge
Permanently closed and demolished in 2018 and 2019, the “old” Surf City Swing Bridge served as an icon for Topsail Island’s residents and guests. Four generations of Topsail Island travelers identified the Surf City Swing Bridge as a visual icon marking the beginning (or end) of their Topsail Island adventures.
The concrete and steel structure previously served as the primary connection between The Town of Surf City‘s mainland and island regions along State Highway 210 and North Carolina Highway 50 (or NC-50). Throughout the day, the Surf City Swing Bridge would sound its alarms and rotate 90 degrees to allow boaters to travel through the Intracoastal Waterway (ICWW) without fear of running into the bridge.
Over the years though, the bridge required frequent maintenance from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and as the population of the Topsail Area (and its tourism seasons grew), the bridge itself became the focus of frustration for some and discussion amongst many locals.
Jeff Wenzel, who serves as the Mayor of The Town of Holly Ridge and is a renowned local photographer, captured the Surf City Swing Bridge beautifully in Swing Bridge Memories – a 51-minute film that you can watch below via YouTube.
Topsail Island Bridge - Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the new Surf City Bridge?
The new Surf City Bridge (which opened in December 2018) is 3,600 feet long, 65 feet tall and features a 39 foot wide road surface.
Where is Larry Walton Memorial Bridge?
Trooper Larry Walton Memorial Bridge serves as the connector between Sneads Ferry, NC and The Town of North Topsail Beach, NC along North Carolina Highway 210. On January 7, 2000, The North Carolina Board of Transportation passed a resolution with the North Topsail Beach Board of Alderman and the Onslow County Board of Commissioners to name the two-lane high-rise bridge in honor of North Carolina Highway Patrolman Larry Thomas Walton who was killed in service in 1972.