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North Carolina highway reopens after Hurricane Irene

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - The highway linking North Carolina's Outer Banks to the mainland reopened on Monday, restoring traffic to parts of the barrier islands more than a month after Hurricane Irene damaged the road.

Crews erected a temporary, two-lane bridge across the largest breach in N.C. Highway 12 and filled other breaches in with sand.

"Although the bridge is a temporary solution, its strength and durability will allow it to remain in place as long as necessary to keep traffic flowing," Governor Bev Perdue's office said in a statement.

The repairs, covered by federal funding, cost between $11 and $12 million, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Greer Beaty said.

Irene, the first hurricane to hit the United States in three years, battered much of the Atlantic coast in late August and caused severe flooding.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Greg McCune)

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