Road work north of Rodanthe to take three weeks

By on October 31, 2012

N.C. 12 at Mirlo Beach. (NCDOT)

Hurricane Sandy flattened dunes in Kitty Hawk and Hatteras Island, leaving a big job of removing water, debris and sand.

N.C. 12 is open through Hatteras Island’s southern villages, but clearing and repairing the road from Rodanthe to the Bonner Bridge will take until Thanksgiving, Dare County Emergency Management said Wednesday.

Two lanes of a flooded section of U.S. 158 in Kitty Hawk were also reopened Wednesday morning, and nine pumps are working to remove water in the area between the highway and the beach, the N.C. Department of Transportation said.

The area has historically been a trouble spot where storm surf breaks through dunes and over N.C. 12, sending water rushing two blocks to the bypass. Drainage ditches in the area routinely overflow during heavy rain.

N.C. 12 at Kitty Hawk Road is a stretch where houses were lost or removed several years ago, leaving only a small dune line for protection.

“The highway is littered with pieces of homes, decks and driveways,” the department of transportation said in a statement. “Crews discovered an area where pavement and dunes have been lost on N.C. 12 north of Kitty Hawk Road in Kitty Hawk.”

Beach combing was popular after the storm. (Rob Morris)

Roadways east of U.S. 158 around milepost 4.5 are still closed while crews remove debris, Dare County Emergency Management said.

Meanwhile, NCDOT says it needs to clear sand 3 to 4 feet deep in places along N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island after Hurricane Sandy flattened or severely damaged about 3 miles of dunes.

Inspectors determined that the Bonner Bridge was safe for emergency vehicles and that there appeared to be no loss of sand around pilings on the bottom of Oregon Inlet. Sonar will be used for a second look.

Repairs will be needed on tension cables in the bridge deck on several spans, the highway department said, but that will probably be done before work on N.C. 12 to Rodanthe is finished.

NCDOT crews have found pavement damage on the south side of the the new bridge at the inlet cut by Hurricane Irene.

At Mirlo Beach north of Rodanthe, another persistent a trouble spot, the ocean broke through in the same spot that required extensive repairs after Hurricane Irene last August.

“There is a significant loss of dunes and pavement damage,” the highway department said.

Emergency ferries are running between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point. The ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke has also started running again on a limited schedule.

Ferries between Swan Quarter and Ocracoke are resuming their normal two-a-day runs, but visitors are not yet allowed to use them. Reservations for the weekend are full.

The beach south of the Outer Banks Pier. (Russ Lay)

Sandy’s 10- to 15-foot waves sent surf all the way to the dunes in Nags Head, but on Wednesday the beach, which was widened last year, appeared to have held up reasonably well.

Town Manager Cliff Ogburn said the width probably was not what it was before the storm, but sand fencing indicated 2 to 3 feet more elevation along the dunes in South Nags Head.

The contractor for the $36 million nourishment project, Coastal Science and Engineering, was already scheduled to do another assessment of sand loss. FEMA can reimburse the town to replace sand loss after a named storm.

Without the extra beach, houses would have been in the water, Ogburn said.

“We’re pleased,” he said. “It did what it was supposed to do.”

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Charlie Kennedy

November 6, 2012 12:57 pm

I think the best solution is to give up the road to Mother Nature and ferry the lot with hovercraft and/or hydofoils.


November 6, 2012 8:05 am

Why do people complain about the monies wasted on highway 12 but are silent about the repairs to the beach road? Just an observation.


November 5, 2012 8:03 am

Sink a boat off mirlo.

Move the road west without all the red tape.

That “one little highway” brings a lot of people down to two islands, Hatteras and Ocracoke. Check out the tax revenue Dare county collects from the southern beaches. Check out the tax revenue Ocracoke collects for Hyde county. Remember too that Dare is a donor county. I’d be willing to bet that Ocracoke is supporting Hyde county also. Ocracoke counts on the day trippers from the northern Dare beaches for a lot of their business too.

Supposedly there is already a plan in place to fix this trouble spot but as usual it takes time to implement.


November 3, 2012 3:15 pm

Move the highway to the west, and investigate some other type of road surface, the oil mixed with tar and gravel has no strength at all, and is just toxic junk once it is undermined.

How about a road designed to be quickly rebuilt after each storm? Time for some new thinking, but of course that $8 million goes into the highway contractors bottom line. Eight to ten million every year seems like a lot to pay for one little highway.


November 2, 2012 3:18 pm

Keep in mind folks, the long bridge is not feasible for this application.
Forget pavement, 4×4 access to Hatteras would be the best way.


November 1, 2012 8:05 pm

Some 15 or more years ago wasn’t one of the options in the bridge replacement plan to move the highway west and have a series of causeways? That idea got shot down?

I’ve never had an issue with the long bridge just the cost of the thing.

Oh Yeah!

November 1, 2012 6:30 pm

Where is our useless Governor? Why isn’t she on top of getting HWY 12 on Hatteras Island and in KH up and running quicker? Why isn’t she working to gain access along Pea Island for those with a 4×4? Good thing she’s not running for another term as she’d loose!


November 1, 2012 5:31 pm

Check the real records and transcripts. In 2004 the Governor and Sec of transportation were all set to go forward with the long bridge. It would have been finished by now. Big whigs in Manteo stopped it. I will keep their names out of this post, but if you check the records you will see who they were. It is our OWN local politicians that have caused the long bridge not to be done. I know the facts and have the evidence. No one wants to remember it the way it really happened.

Robbin Banks

November 1, 2012 12:50 pm

It has to be a Presidentially-declared disaster in order to get FEMA reimbursement for replacing sand. And Sandy wasn’t in NC. At least not yet.


November 1, 2012 11:13 am

So how many “short bridges” will we need? For pete sakes build a long bridge. Highway 12 will continue to be washed out. Yes they are trying to starve us out!!


November 1, 2012 9:18 am

Now that many of the dune lines are gone, the elevation and width of beaches will increase. Unless they start piling sand again which is what causes erosion, as proven over and over.


November 1, 2012 8:01 am

Most people cannot properly handle the highway, so they closed it. Too bad, it’s perfect like it is now.


November 1, 2012 7:40 am

Anyone ready to build the long bridge now. Sandy will cost us 8 million plus to repair the NC 12 roadway south of oi. Just one cat 1 storm that did not make it ashore.

Russell Lay

October 31, 2012 8:16 pm

Note to above: The Russ above is not me. My comments appear under my full name, either Russ Lay or Russell Lay. Don’t know who “Russ” is and I haven’t been to Hatteras.

Mark Williamson

October 31, 2012 6:17 pm

Poor planning on your part does not mean an emergency on my part. News flash, this happens and the guys from RPC, the state and everyone else do a heroic effort every time this happens, even with the procrasting of the rest of the powers that be. They work in weather that most people would deem crazy and unsafe, so cut them some slack why don”t ya.


October 31, 2012 6:11 pm

Peace and Quiet for three weeks

Alice Ann

October 31, 2012 5:45 pm

In agreement with Beachcomber. In a situation of this magnitude there is usually more to the story than even one member of the media might know. Perhaps the entire system of highways and bridges on/off HI cannot handle “normal” traffic at this time. I don’t know just offering a thought for your consideration.


October 31, 2012 5:28 pm

3 Weeks is pretty quick.


October 31, 2012 4:05 pm

thanksgiving?! if the bonner bridge is not the issue then that is just plain nuts. it seems like tha powers that be are trying to starve those poor folks out of there. wow.


October 31, 2012 3:12 pm

We’ve all seen the pictures and obviously they closed it for a reason, everyone’s personal safety. Are you trying to make the sheriff’s office look bad? Seems like a pretty unnecessary comment to me.


October 31, 2012 2:01 pm

Hwy 12 was passable off Hatteras Island until the sheriff set up a road block at Mirlo.
Went to New Inlet and Boilers this morning. Didn’t need 4 wheel drive.

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