UPDATE: NCDOT confirms the bridge opening will be delayed, likely to mid-May. Tim Hass said there is an expansion joint that needs to be replaced. Stay with WAVY for updates.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A new bridge that will bypass a wildlife refuge at the Outer Banks is set to open later this month, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The new 2.4-mile bridge will extend from the southern end of N.C. 12 at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge out over the Pamlico Sound and down into Rodanthe.

Construction of the bridge began in early 2018. The project’s cost was initially set at $145.33 million, but that was later increased by $10 million, according to the NCDOT.

The existing segment of N.C. 12, which is 1.8 miles long, will eventually be removed and the land will be returned to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, NCDOT officials said.

In Rodanthe, a small portion of existing N.C. 12 will remain so people can still access private properties.

NCDOT spokesman Marty Homan said they are aiming at opening the bridge to traffic before the end of April.

At the southern end of the bridge, a roundabout is being built on land that will connect bridge traffic with N.C. 12.