The NC Ferry Division of the North Carolina’s Department of Transportation needs to be singled out.
With an opening like that, readers may brace themselves for a little “good ol’ government bashing.” This is not the case.
Division Director Ed Goodwin, appointed last April, immediately took on the very serious access challenges to Ocracoke. In his monthly meetings with Ocracoke residents, listening to him, one would think that he took personally the long waits last summer at the Hatteras terminal.
He said he was determined to turn this around. He supports adding a passenger ferry option from Hatteras and ordered a feasibility study for it that will include input from Ocracokers. This study is expected to be concluded in August.
A passenger ferry, Provincetown III, a catamaran-style vessel, will stop in Hatteras May 4 to 5 on its way from the Caribbean to Boston so that the Ferry Division can have a look and make some test runs between the islands.
One cannot blame the Ferry Division for the problem area in the short route. That section is under the Army Corps of Engineers and bigger players make that decision.
When the “long route” (via the Barney Slough) started, it took about one hour and twenty minutes. Now this crossing takes about one hour, a significant improvement in time that needs to be noted. Moreover, the ferry division has hired an engineering company to determine if even more time can be shaved off that route.
It is not just the director doing good work. Communications director Tim Hass quickly returns calls (and emails). The division last summer appointed a new director of operations at the Hatteras Ferry Terminal, Chris Bock, who welcomes concerns and improvement ideas.
In the monthly meetings here, Deputy Director Jed Dixon takes note of comments and addresses them.
As an example, it was brought to his attention that the Hatteras ferry staff did not have flashlights, and those waiting in line had trouble seeing their signals to board. He soon after reported back that flashlights are in place.
Goodwin, who has worked closely with Hyde County manager Bill Rich, knows how important it is to keep Ocracokers informed on the ferry issues that have such a major impact on our community. He also knows how important it is to work with the larger NC Department of Transportation, the General Assembly and Hyde County officials.
They are doing their work and we commend their efforts,
To read more about ferry division’s efforts on passenger ferries: