A project the size of the “jug-handle” bridge north of Rodanthe is like some intricate dance routine carried out with mammoth custom-built gantry cranes, massive 155-foot pilings and teams of workers each with their own tasks.

“The whole system is one big train. You only move as fast as your slowest part of the train,” said Adrian Price, project manager with Flatiron Construction Corp., the Broomfield, Colorado-based contractor for the project.

The process of building a bridge 2.4 miles in length is familiar to those who witnessed construction of the Marc Basnight Bridge, which was completed last year, and it’s complex. Pilings are driven deep into the bed of Pamlico Sound and capped, girders laid, then subsurface and surface layers go into place, all while heeding the natural surroundings.