Thanksgiving opening of N.C. 12 not possible

By on November 17, 2012

N.C. 12 at Mirlo Beach is open to heavy surf. (NCDOT)

Heavy surf and high wind persisting this week through next Tuesday will prevent highway crews from finishing repairs to N.C 12 before Thanksgiving.

Damaged by Hurricane Sandy last month and a nor’easter the following week, the only land route to Hatteras Island was expected to be reopened by the holiday.

“Unfortunately NCDOT crews have been at the mercy of the weather and we are not where we want to be in terms of reopening N.C. 12,” NCDOT Division Engineer Jerry Jennings said in a statement.

Access by way of an emergency four-wheel drove route between the Bonner Bridge and Rodanthe has been unpredictable, with frequent closings at high tide.

The main problem is at Mirlo Beach, where Sandy’s waves flattened the dune line. Photos on the Island Free Press website show the cracked and sinking section of N.C. 12 and the right-of-way in the ocean.

“These closures often occur with very little advanced notice due to rapidly changing weather and surf conditions,” the statement said. “When a closure happens, NCDOT must wait for conditions to improve before reopening the route to ensure motorists safety.

Conditions indicate that the emergency route will be open only at low tides.

Weather patterns include an offshore storm that will produce high surf and strong winds from the north and northeast into next week. A coastal flood advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service Office in Morehead City said.

At least one computer model suggests the possibility of another nor’easter developing Wednesday.

The temporary route is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., but motorists will be escorted before dawn and after dusk.

Emergency ferries are operating between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point. N.C. 12 south of Rodanthe opened shortly after Sandy.

The NCDOT Ferry Division has also added a pair of runs each day through the Monday after Thanksgiving on the toll ferry between Swan Quarter and Ocracoke.

When the route is open, 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.

The highway department recommends calling 511 for the latest information or following NCDOT on Twitter at

See the Island Free Press for more details and photos »

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Can't grasp it

November 20, 2012 6:58 pm

Mike, I write this with all due respect. You obviously have had enough sense in life to afford you the luxury to purchase a vacation home that you will not need to rent, however, that same sense apparently has left you when making this home purchase. Cmon man. The island has no road, a bad bridge, and its getting worse, not better. I bet your Real Estate agent has not picked up the phone and offered his/her take on the longevity of your purchase or its projected value as a second home on an island with limited hope. Buy the house but ask if it comes with a helicopter. Or better yet, perhaps you should wait a while a see where the prices go after the next storm, and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one after that, etc.. Good luck.


November 20, 2012 11:24 am

I am trying to buy a small place in Salvo – getaway for my wife and family, do not plan to rent, a block from the ocean. Hope to get down there Thanksgiving weekend to do a final inspection of the house to put our final ‘blessing’ to go forward with the sale – but am a bit spooked by the road, and a bit spooked by the shifting sands. How long before the ocean rips a hole in the dunes in Salvo?

Salvo duck hinter

November 20, 2012 7:52 am

Hank they will try to re-nourish the beaches, it will fail like it does most other places. Places like Mirlo beach will fail even faster. Coastal geologist consider Mirlo beach one of the highest energy beaches with one of the fastest erosion rates on the East Coast, right in the middle of sediment starved system, that is why all the peat is on the beach there. Nourishment just continues more uncertainty and continued problems for the residents and visitors that want to be there.


November 19, 2012 12:17 pm

The reality is thousands of people are full time residents of Hatters island and over a million people have visited Hatteras Island in recent decades. Almost all of these people use our roads and beaches. Thanks to all the visitors and residents of NC that are helping to rebuild our roads and re-nourish our beaches. I have no doubt in my mind that the roads and bridges will be rebuilt and the beaches re-nourished; just like they are in every other barrier island around the country. Don’t forget many in power own property and have vacationed here for generations. Lets face it DoItYourSelf, your tax dollars will help US soon enough.


November 19, 2012 10:42 am

Sandy Bay to Rodanthe bridge is just 15 miles- why waste time with the stupid Bonner Bridge replacement? Take the Bonner Bridge money and build a low bridge across the sound. Common sense approach would eliminate Pea Island from the mix, just let nature take over there.

And stop wasting money dredging under the Bonner Bridge for the millionaires to play in their boats, they can just move to Florida to fish.


November 18, 2012 8:28 pm

Build the long bridge/causeway. Replacing the Bonner Bridge will be the classic “Bridge to Nowhere”. Maybe we can get the half-term quitter ex governor of Alaska here to rally the troops!

The “right of way” at S-turns is a joke, any right of way that is in the ocean is useless.

So what will happen here? Does anyone at the NC state level care about Hatteras Island? I don’t think so, they are still busy denying the reality of climate change. The oceans are rising, Hatteras Island is migrating to the west. Looks like the end for Hatteras Island real estate, the land is worth very little with no access.


November 18, 2012 4:24 pm

do it to yourself…….I’m sure the people down here would rebuild the road themselves if they didn’t have to go through all the permitting, studies and other red tape including getting a blessing from FWS.


November 18, 2012 1:05 pm

11/18/12 the Noreaster we are in know is pounding that area along with the reast of the beach, and we have several more days of it! I think this winter will be like the old day, Noreasters that blow for days, These can be just as bad as hurricanes! HOLD ON!

Happy Barracuda

November 18, 2012 11:34 am

All we can hope for is the power to stay on.

The ferries to be able to run.

And a milder winter for Dec/Jan/Feb…………….


November 18, 2012 9:38 am

I heard from a real estate manager that there are hundreds of Thanksgiving week rentals down on the Hatteras end and no way of assuring ferry space for visitors. It was also mentioned that NCDOT may not be able to open the road until sometime next year. The economic impact has to be huge. Good luck to all.

Do it yourself

November 18, 2012 9:31 am

I agree Hank..Myself and about three to five hundred other people have decided we want to live on Durant Island. We demand that the state and county build a bridge from Manns Harbor to Durant Island. We have the right to live there if we choose. My “red-wolf” observation business will benefit with a new bridge. That was sarcasm for those who could not figure it out.

Honestly.. .if you are fed up with the road conditions/repair efforts, and its “your” ( locals ) then you fix the road youeself.. after all for hundreds of years people lived there and THEY fixed the roads themselves,, thats how the road got there in the first place.

Robbi V

November 17, 2012 8:52 pm

Another bridge type structure at the s curves would let the water pass under and provide a view for drivers….like in the Florida keys


November 17, 2012 6:44 pm

Communities have a right to exist along the Outer Banks. Extremist who rather turn the land back to nature should pickup an move their own house and life. Anywhere in the world is subject to nature. Drought Earthquake Floods Tornadoes and Hurricanes can strike anywhere. Just because we have hurricanes here does not mean we cannot live here. This is our community and these are our islands. We have a right to renourish our beaches and build elevated roads and bridges. We have a right to live where people have lived for hundreeds of years. We will pump sand on to our beaches and bridges will be built. It is time to put people before birds.


November 17, 2012 2:26 pm

Forget about pavement. 4×4 access south of Oregon Inlet. and maybe the ferries to. That’s all we need but people are griping and complaining like crazy. If you chose to live or visit here than you cannot demand a roadway all the time if at all.

OBX Resident

November 17, 2012 7:35 am

What the article fails to mention is that NCDOT, Fish and Wildlife Agency, and elected officials are all fighting over how the road at s-turns is going to be replaced. Add into this continuing legal threats from environmental orgs, and you have a serious quagmire. This is the worst this section of roadway has ever been and no one has the sea sponges to step up and get it open. All and all this is only short term. Build the bridge from stumpy point. Again, if you think it is going to be open by Christmas, I have a square grouper for you. Too many egos and too much ignorance to get it completed efficiently. Props go out to ncdot for their work.

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