By Sam Walker on January 29, 2013
The N.C. Department of Transportation said Monday that some progress has been made by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contractor hired to dredge the channel between Hatteras and Ocracoke.
Persistent shoaling of Rollinson Channel since Hurricane Sandy in October has shut down ferry operations on the Hatteras Inlet route.
The dredge Richmond, owned by Cottrell Contracting, is now in the vicinity of navigation aid 9A, and the project is about 60 percent complete by quantity, according to a NCDOT statement.
The contractor has removed 76,751 cubic yards of material to a required depth of 10 feet, with two feet of over dredging since Dec. 1, according to the statement.
The NCDOT said the Army Corps of Engineers will be providing a weekly report to help keep residents updated on the progress of the project.
Meanwhile on Monday, Congress gave final approval to a $50.5 billion Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
Part of the package includes money for the Corps to pay for additional dredging at Hatteras Inlet, along with Oregon Inlet and other waterways around the area.
Money from the bill that is now headed to President Barack Obama for his signature will also reimburse the NCDOT for repairs to N.C. 12 at Mirlo Beach and Kitty Hawk, washed out by Hurricane Sandy.
While the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry is shut down, Ocracoke residents are being allowed to travel the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island routes free of charge.
Ferry schedules on the Swan Quarter route have been altered to give vendors and the U.S. Postal Service more time to make deliveries in Ocracoke, while private vessels and the Coast Guard have been assisting with transporting medicines and other vital goods across Hatteras Inlet as needed.
The Coast Guard is also making available helicopters to transport medical emergencies, if medical helicopters are unable to make the trip due to weather.