The Sunset Beach Bridge, which is a swing-type drawbridge, meaning a cable pulls the floating middle section to the side of the channel out of the way of boat traffic, has once again made the news--this time by prompting an impatient driver's attempt to get over the waterway "dukes of hazard"-style and winding up in the drink.
No doubt, the 1940's-era bridge has sentimental value for long-time Sunset Beach residents, and it is picturesque. It functions, too, as a sort of drawbridge-over-a-moat, discouraging hordes of tourists and wannabe residents from storming the castle, and overwhelming the bucolic island life cherished by the sun setters.
That is an understandable but not very realistic point of view. Beach population tends only to grow. The state wants to replace the old bridge with a high-rise like the ones soaring from the mainland to other Brunswick beaches. They may lack charm, but they are impressive, graceful, and above all, swift.
And they never, ever have "draw" problems. That notion has met with some residents' resistance--but also with others' support.
If someone were to ask me, and no one has yet, I would say it's time for Sunset Beach to face the future, and get out of the dark ages, when it comes to access on and off the island.