By Rob Morris on November 11, 2012A highway department employee was killed early Sunday while working on a section of N.C. 12 on Hatteras Island that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Michael Brad Stevenson, 37, died after the dump truck he was driving collided with another dump truck, according to an N.C. Department of Transportation statement.
The driver of the other truck, also a highway department employee, was injured.
Highway officials opened an emergency route for four-wheel-drive vehicles along the damaged section of highway Saturday afternoon. The route had been scheduled to be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and no private vehicles were involved in the accident.
N.C. 12 between the Bonner Bridge and Rodanthe remained closed Sunday morning until about 9 a.m. The highway department has decided that the emergency route will be open to four-wheel-drive vehicles only during daylight hours.
“The area is remote, and current road conditions are more challenging to navigate at night,” the statement said. “NCDOT is currently working with local officials to develop options for traveling along this stretch of N.C. 12 that will provide additional travel times.”
Stevenson, a resident of Hertford, was a transportation worker in Pasquotank County. He worked for NCDOT for about 15 years. He is survived by his wife and their three children.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Stevenson family during this extremely difficult time,” NCDOT Secretary Gene Conti said in the statement. “The men and women who work to keep N.C. 12, and all of our highways, safe and open for travel are special people. When something like this happens, it hits all of us in the DOT family hard.”
N.C. 12 north of Rodanthe had been closed since Hurricane Sandy, which pushed sand and surf onto the only land access to Hatteras Island and tore up sections of asphalt. The worst damage was between the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe.
Emergency ferries are running from Rodanthe to the mainland, and N.C. 12 south of Rodanthe has been open since shortly after the storm two weeks ago.
North of Rodanthe, there is one lane in each direction except at the temporary bridge on Pea Island and the Bonner Bridge. Traffic signals have been set up at both spans to allow one-lane crossings in alternating directions.
“Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles should expect a rough ride, which will include traveling over sand, damaged pavement and some water,” the NCDOT said.
“On the sandy portions of the access route, motorists should follow makeshift lane markers comprised of barrels, cones and flags connected with orange protective fencing.”
Hurricane Sandy washed out portions of N.C. 12 two weeks ago, and a second storm this week washed more water and sand onto the road.