Corps will put sand on Mirlo Beach, Burrus says

By on November 29, 2012

A familiar image of N.C. 12. (NCDOT)

Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus said today that high-level North Carolina Department of Transportation officials have told him a deal has been worked out with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to place sand on the beach in front of the troubled “S-curves” in Rodanthe.

According to Burrus, the Corps will receive funds from the Federal Highway Administration. A large Army Corps dredge from Wilmington will be brought off Hatteras Island to pump sand onto the beach.

The section of beach just north of Rodanthe has been plagued by ocean overwash following Hurricane Sandy and a succession of nor’easters. Until this week, repair crews were unable to keep an emergency route for four-wheel-drive vehicles open due to high surf battering two-lane N.C. 12.

Otherwise, Hatteras Island can be reached only by heading south to Ocracoke Island via ferry and taking another ferry to the mainland or by using an emergency ferry between Stumpy Point on the Dare County mainland and Rodanthe.

Burrus said details such as how much sand will be placed and where the sand will come from have yet to be worked out. He said Dare County commissioners are hoping the Corps will not only place sand on the beach from the S-curves south into Rodanthe itself, but also construct a new dune line along the same route.

It is not known yet how much the project will cost.


Burrus noted that in addition to the washout at the “S-curves” in recent weeks, the road in Rodanthe at Mirlo Beach has also been breached several times this year and in the past.

Burrus, who represents Hatteras Island on the Dare County Board of Commissioners, said that in the 1980s, the beach in Buxton was widened and improved with new dune construction “and we haven’t had any problems there” with overwash since then.

The commissioner first hinted at the possible solution on Max Radio’s outlets this morning, but it wasn’t until early Thursday afternoon that he received what he felt was official confirmation from NCDOT about the rescue plan for N.C. 12.

Sam Walker contributed to this story.

On the cover: NCDOT photo.

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Staying afloat

December 6, 2012 9:44 pm

I think “sailor” is right about the bridge from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe makes the most sense, water is rising and the Island has been migrating for tens of thousands of years. Can we really fight it? To say the Nags Head project is a success after just 18 months may be a little short-sighted. Seems to be working well, but time will tell. It does seem to be supplying sand to fill in Oregon Inlet, maybe we won’t need a bridge after all.


December 6, 2012 5:03 pm

To Sailor- OK

To Salvo Duck Hunter- OK

For an interesting read ” The Live Oakers” a story about the keel, ribs and elbows-and how they were found from Virginia to Texas and delivered to New England for the construction of Naval Warships including the Constitution. Some of those parts might have come from Hatteras. The US Federal Government hired crews to do the logging.

Salvo Duck Hunter

December 6, 2012 7:42 am

Skiffguide you would do better not discussing what doesn’t make someone an outerbank local. My maternial grandmother was part Lumbee, so what.
We all are part of this mess and part of the problem.


December 5, 2012 8:33 pm

Skiffguide: So are you descended from the people who cut down the forests on Hatteras Island and floated the logs out in the gulf stream? What a bright move that was, none of them cared anything about the long term viability of the island, just wanted to make money any way they could.

And if you are not descended from one of the original “five families”, then you have no right to tell anyone else what to do. I suppose “locals” to you don’t include the original inhabitants from 10,000 years ago, where do you draw the line?

Time to listen to the scientists: Global Warming is real, the ocean levels are rising, Hatteras Island is going to continue migrating westward. So deal with reality or just continue to ignore it while railing against the government, FWS, and anyone who is not descended from the first European settlers on Hatteras Island!

Jenny payne

December 5, 2012 4:10 pm

The point is to save the island. Outer Banks is a wonderful place wether to live or visit. I am a property owner for only a year and I love it. Everyone there is so nice and friendly. The locals are so nice and thats why i would love to live and be part of their community. They know a lot about the history and if you take time to lisen they have great ideas. Thing is that some parts of the island are in dire need of help and that help needs to come fast or things will be lost. Has anyone thought of a toll road to pay for beach nurishment? Giving the residence of the island a pass. There are plenty of tourist that would be delighted to pay for this and not have to ride a ferry or pay someone with a 4 wheel drive to tow them over a beach! If the beach is longer than they wouldnt have to fight the s curves and there would be no need to build a bridge. If they let Mirlo beach fall into the ocean, It wont be long before they let the rest of the island go and the Outer Banks will be No more and thats the real shame!

Frank Moore

December 5, 2012 10:45 am

Wayne which road will you be leaving on so we can make sure that nothing slows or stops you from leaving.


December 4, 2012 4:08 pm

“Beach nourishment is like snake oil. It give the residents a false sense of security and let’s the local politicians off the hook.” – Salvo Duck Hunter

It will let the politicians off the hook because it will be a non-starter with the FWS, NPS, and the enviros and then the politicians can proclaim that we are once again victims held back by others and that’s why our road is washed out.

Move the road and bridge the breach. Then pursue nourishment all you want.

Local Gal

December 4, 2012 3:53 pm

I agree 100% with what Harry M Lange said… “The sand is a very temp solution, a bridge must be built to ensure vehicle access and allow mother nature to shift the island as it is going to do anyway.”
Mother nature is making it very clear that she wants an inlet north of Mirlo Beach, so let her have her way, stop wasting money with the sand route and build a bridge already!
Regarding Nags Head, the beach nourishment project worked wonders. I was a skeptic, but it has proven itself through the past Hurricanes and storms. And Nags Head is not looking to shut down Hatteras Island! That’s just silly!
Build a bridge, and get over it!!!


December 4, 2012 1:40 pm

Go Ahead, SKIFFGUIDE….you are spot on. Living somewhere for 4 years must make one think they are an authority.


December 4, 2012 11:46 am

Wow Wayne- all of four years huh? Now that’s real longevity. It’s easy to see that what you know about the Outer Banks of North Carolina can be placed into a small thimble. Your’e just another pseudo-local who came down here thinking your’e just a little bit smarter than the rest of us. Tell you what bud- you could live here for the next 50 years, your kids can live here for another 50 and none of you will ever be a local. You’ll be long gone back to whatever northern state came from if your investment turns bad. Your post is very likely going to win the “Stupidest Post of the Year” on OBV and the competition for that award has been stiff.


December 4, 2012 9:38 am

Pumping sand into the ocean, hardly a “positive” story, just another huge waste of taxpayer money to support a losing proposition. The ocean is rising, Hatteras Island is migrating West, those are the facts. Pumping sand is stupid and short sighted.

Time to scrap the Bonner Replacement “Bridge to Nowhere” and build a bridge from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe. That way the bridge can be used for many years, just shorten the bridge to match the island’s move every five years or so.

Salvo Duck Hunter

December 4, 2012 8:07 am

It is amazing what thin skin you right wingers have, especially so considering all the personal opinions you espouse about environmental lefties.

Go ahead and nourish (oxymoron if there ever was one) the  beach again  to save HYW 12 on Hatteras Island.  I wouldn’t   oppose  it if there is a long term plan that addresses implications of sea level rise and access to HI. It  is an expensive short term fix at best.  It takes a big government to get it done . BN   appears to give the politicians enough time to completely forget  there is still a big looming problem of HI being over washed and subdivided into multiple island by the Atlantic Ocean, just like Stan Riggs told us 15 years ago.

Beach nourishment is like snake oil.  It give the residents a false sense of security and let’s the local politicians off the hook.


December 3, 2012 2:27 pm

Wayne must be crazy….I agree with q obx in regards to his thoughtless words. Locals want our roads to be the best and we want to be able to travel all areas of Highway 12 South AND North. The problems I have seen over the years is with the evnironmentalists and “tree huggers” if you will….NOT “redneck” locals.
Let me guess, Mrs 4 year property owner….you have few friends here on the OBX and come here because you think we are much less smart than you and so you feel smart now…well….NOT SO MUCH! Why would you call folks names and make ridiculous assumptions like you did if you want to be part of the local community. Shame on you….how shallow of you not to mention ignorant!


December 3, 2012 1:41 pm

Reading the comments after a well written “positive” news article about a Hatteras Issue is as much entertainment and fun as waiting to see how many clowns will come out of Volkwagen.

q obx

December 2, 2012 11:23 pm

The “property owners” and guests are there to stimulate the locals and local economy. So yes, it does belong to them. You don’t walk in someone’s house you visit and proclaim it your own.


December 2, 2012 8:24 pm

Pumping sand is temporary at best, but the first question is this: Where are they going to pump the sand from? If they take it from the offshore area that will just lead to faster erosion.

Taking sand from the sound side good give us another “Canadian Hole” for some slightly deeper water sailing, but how long will any of this last?

Nice to see the midwest taxpayers paying to pump sand on the NC beach. Tea Baggers love that gummint money when it is coming their way!

obx resident

December 2, 2012 3:26 pm

The OBX will never belong to the property owners and guests. And who is yelling about a bridge? We’re talking about a bridge? The story is about replenishing the beach. Four year property owner!


December 2, 2012 12:01 pm

Well Salvo duck hinter, lol. As a tea party guy and right wing govt hater, I think that your hate filled comments tell a lot about you! I for one not only think sand there would be a very good idea and makes total sense. Not only that, if NPS or USFW has any say so, pump the sand off the beach and creat a breakwater. And since I am a govt hating right winger, just maybe we will finally have a Govenor that has some guts and threaten to take back the land that was given to the Feds if they don’t do what they said in the written agreement when they were given that land!

joe 3

December 2, 2012 7:55 am

they should build small bridges so the ocean can come and go maybe like the keys

sandy 30+

December 2, 2012 7:44 am

maybe burrass wants to put sand there so they shop at his store

Michael O'Brien

December 2, 2012 1:39 am

I do believe the “work” on the Bonner Bridge was started during the Whig Party Administration…
Please just build it…
And build back the beaches…


December 1, 2012 3:35 pm

Has the Voice fact-checked the headline article to find out whether Burrus has leaked accurate information or not?

Stuck on a Sandbar

December 1, 2012 9:36 am

Has there been any money appropriated for this project ? This will be interesting to watch .

Daniel Pearson

November 30, 2012 11:35 pm

“in the 1980s, the beach in Buxton was widened and improved with new dune construction “and we haven’t had any problems there” with overwash since then.”

Mercy, what kind of wisdom comes from the above statement? Duh.


November 30, 2012 9:13 pm

“Meanwhile, Dare County is exploring the potential of doing beach nourishment at Rodanthe as part of the long-term solution, separate from DOT.  The transportation department had dropped plans last year to consider pumping sand on the beach, citing high costs and lack of available sand. ”


Rob Morris

November 30, 2012 8:14 pm

Actually, the IFP is not reporting that. The story is about long-term fixes. Irene Nolan’s blog discusses the long-term proposals but also says that nourishment is in the mix.


November 30, 2012 6:45 pm

The Island Free Press is reporting that NCDOT is not pursuing nourishment.

Pat Avon

November 30, 2012 6:34 pm

All the talking is good.. But we need a temp. road of some kind, crush & run, oystershells. or Geofabric. anything to help us to travel on and off the island. The ferry is ok but waiting hours and taking hours.. for a trip to the appointment is a little hard..Just stabilize the road do not mind gravel or what ever…and how about sinking some for the ghost fleet off the coast for reefs..there are lots of ideas..bridges,sand what ever..lets do something..

a correction is in order

November 30, 2012 6:32 pm

Salvo duck hinter, work on the new replacement bridge over Oregon Inlet is being started under a Republican controlled NC House and Senate. Since the 1970′s that bridge has needed replacement. During those same years the State of NC was controlled in both the House and Senate by Democrats. You need to turn off MSN, CNN and NPR.


November 30, 2012 5:25 pm

So let me try to understand this. We can’t drive on the beach or approve a bridge because of the threat of changing or damaging the natural habitat for plovers and turtles, but they are going to approve pumping sand on the beach on park service property? How does that make any sence?

Stewie Stewington

November 30, 2012 5:00 pm

“It is bot (sic) known yet how much the project will cost.”

Who cares what it cost? It’s just more “make-believe” federal money.

Fiscal cliff…what fiscal cliff?


November 30, 2012 4:35 pm

Wayne… huh?? And “local rednecks”????


November 30, 2012 12:01 pm

Why are artificial break reefs not being discussed. Fill giant sand bags, place them 1/2 mile offshore in troubled areas. The wave energy is absorb, The surfers get their waves, the enviro nuts get there low impact plus new reef habitat, and it’s a much cheaper solution. They have already done this in India with much success.

Harry M. Lange

November 30, 2012 11:47 am

I was told at a meeting last Dec, with NCDOT and Dare Comm. that FEMA would pay for 2 bridges, 1 at New inlet and 1 at Rodanthe. What happened to this plan and funding? The sand is a very temp solution, a bridge must be built to ensure vehicle access and allow mother nature to shift the island as it is going to do anyway. We need more inlets to prevent soundside flooding as we had during Irene!

Not in Nags Head

November 30, 2012 11:07 am

raymond austin says: …yes nags head would love to see the island shut down for money reasons and money reasons alone. but make no mistake if this island gos, nags head will be next and the rest of dare county.


Richard Parker

November 30, 2012 10:21 am

Don’t hold your breath on this going through (or lasting if it does). It’s a stupid plan. It’s quite probably illegal. And like Carol says, it doesn’t do diddly for the other hotspots. The ocean will have its way. Adapt.

Nags Head

November 30, 2012 8:30 am

Yes, Look at Nags Head. It looks great. Big beach. No serious issues from the hurricane. Now look at KDH and Kitty Hawk.??

Beth Gordon

November 30, 2012 8:09 am


Ray Midgett

November 30, 2012 8:08 am

Sorry, teedoff, but they still insist on calling the Nags Head project a tremendous success. :)

Salvo duck hinter

November 30, 2012 7:34 am

Putting sand there might help ( big if) for a few years at most. If they can get the rest of the US and NC to pay for it I guess the local tea party right winger government hating residents (and there are a bunch of them) will be tickled pink that their tax money is going for a good cause.

It is like watching a fighter who keeps getting knocked down and then gets back up with no chance to win. If Sandy had rolled in on HI it would not be getting back up, it is only a matter of time.


November 30, 2012 5:01 am

Well done!


November 29, 2012 11:15 pm

Glad to see something happening by way of nourishment. By no means a final solution but this will help.


November 29, 2012 8:49 pm

I hope this is in addition to moving the road west.


November 29, 2012 8:26 pm

I found as a 4 years OBX property owner , every time when something good planned for local roads or bridges, always has some local rednecks yelling and getting pissed off. They still assumed OBX is theirs and like to keep as it was, but time changes and Outer Banks belongs to the owners and guests who pay the tax and bring in commerce. Your share gets smaller, so get along with the changes or you shall move out.

raymond austin

November 29, 2012 8:17 pm

at this point a dreadge is the best thing going. if you live in hatteras then you would understand what freedom feels like to beable to drive off the island. i remmeber haveing to ride the ferry from the northend of the island to oregan inlet, believe me, you dont want to go back to this.theres human lifes at stake. yes nags head would love to see the island shut down for money reasons and money reasons alone. but make no mistake if this island gos, nags head will be next and the rest of dare county.

Carol Dillon Dawson

November 29, 2012 8:01 pm

I own a motel in North Buxton that has been hammered hundreds of times including Sandy. My husband and I have paid for putting dunes back and planting grass there for 35 years. There is less beach behind the Buxton motels than at Mirlo right now. So I guess this great planning and decision making of Dare and the Corp will wait until that is an inlet as well. There is no ferry from Buxton and we have decided not to put a dune back in front of Cape Hatteras Motel. We have paid hundreds of thousands pushing sand and building dunes inside the laws of CAMA and we don’t have the money, time, desire or emotional health to do it one more day. Pumping sand without stabilizing it, so stupid. But the ncdot loves to spend money pushing sand around after every storm. Not doing one measure of prevention and waiting until after the disasters to react. If you consider rt 12 like a spine, there are three or four dis-located discs, fixing one of them temporarily still leaves us paralyzed! Unbelievable !!


November 29, 2012 6:26 pm

Putting sand there is like peeing in the wind. How DUMB can you get?????????? Look what happened to Nags Head..DUH..


November 29, 2012 6:15 pm

What are the chances that SELC or others can legally try to slow and block this?

Salvo Jimmy

November 29, 2012 5:49 pm

I’m not sure where in Buxton Burrus refers to as having sand pumped in the 1980′s and no overwash problems since, but the area at the North end of Buxton was breached in 1999 by Dennis and there was overwash there during Sandy and the follow on Nor’easters

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