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By Connie Leinbach
Editor’s update Aug. 4, 2017, 9:50 a.m.: While Ocracoke is open at noon, that doesn’t mean visitors can get on the Hatteras Ferry at that time. Dare County also will lift the visitor restrictions at noon today. That means that visitors will be able to cross the Bonner Bridge starting at noon to get to the Hatteras Ferry.
Ocracoke and Hatteras islands will open back up to visitors at noon tomorrow (Friday).
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative announced at 5 p.m. today that transmission power had been restored to all of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.
“It’s pretty fantastic,” said Hyde County manager Bill Rich. “We heard in a conference call with the state at 4 p.m. that the lines were hot and all of Hatteras and Ocracoke have power.”
Hyde and Dare counties agreed to the noon opening for visitors, he said.
Until then, access to the island is still under the mandatory visitor evacuation restrictions. Ocracoke residents, seasonal residents, non-resident property owners, vendors, and emergency personnel who display a valid re-entry pass, or who possess some form of documentation proving residency and/or employment, will be allowed access to the island. Law enforcement officials will be stationed at the ferry docks until noon, Rich said.
The NC Ferry Division will revert back to its summer schedule at noon, Rich said, and the tolls on the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries will go back into effect.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic,” said Jason Wells, co-owner or Jason’s Restaurant, which is among the island businesses opening back up, though Wells had planned to open tomorrow whether or not there were visitors. “The linemen working on this are incredible,” he said about the fast repair work. “I can’t believe it. I’m dancing around a little bit.”
While a number of businesses had stayed open for the week-long blackout, most had closed.
All three campgrounds in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore also will open at noon, the NPS announced today.
This morning, CHEC announced that an overhead solution—splicing cable from one end of the Bonner Bridge to the other to connect the lines—was completed and they were working today to make sure the full load of 115,000 volts of electricity will hold.
The underground cables owned by Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) were damaged early in the morning July 27 when PCL Construction, the contractor building the new Bonner Bridge, accidentally drove a steel casing into it.
Tideland’s announcement included the following thank-yous:
“There are so many to thank that we will surely leave some out, but the list includes: Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Lee Electrical Construction , New River Electrical Corp., NC Dept. of Transportation, Governor Roy Cooper, Hyde County Emergency Management, the NC Ferry Division, Gregory Poole, Hyde County Government, Lumbee River EMC, Jones-Onslow EMC, Edgecombe-Martin EMC, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Brunswick EMC, NC Electric Membership Corporation, and of course our own Tideland EMC crews from both the island and the mainland.
“Most of all, we want to thank our Ocracoke Island members who had faith in the co-op, heeded our calls for assistance and conservation as needed, and showed such grace and community spirit during an extremely stressful time. We are so happy to see the island re-open for business and we know you have some eager guests waiting to arrive.”