RODANTHE, N.C. (AP) - The state Transportation Department has dedicated a bridge along the Outer Banks to a U.S. Coast Guard captain who went from being a slave to the first African-American to command a life-saving station.

The state dedicated the Pea Island Interim Bridge as the Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge in a ceremony Tuesday at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Building.

The bridge replaced the temporary metal bridge that spanned a breach opened during Hurricane Irene in 2011 along N.C. Highway 12.

Etheridge became the leader of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station, an all African-American unit credited with saving many lives. The Coast Guard awarded Etheridge and his crew a medal for the rescue of those aboard the E.S. Newman during a hurricane in 1896.

Etheridge died in 1900.