The disintegrating road at the north end of Ocracoke. Photo: C. Leinbach

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MOREHEAD CITY –The N.C. Division of Coastal Management today issued an emergency permit to the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) to construct an approximately 1,000-foot bulkhead at the South Dock Ferry Terminal on the north end of Ocracoke Island.

In the last few years, the north end of the island has sustained erosion from overwash from numerous nor’easters and hurricanes.

A big chunk of N.C. 12 has fallen into the sound from the overwash, making the stacking lanes unusable, and N.C. Ferry workers have relocated the ferry stacking lanes farther south on the highway.

Yesterday, (June 20), the NCDOT announced the approval of remedial action, but today, this emergency major permit, under the Coastal Area Management Act, authorizes DOT to take action now to protect against further shoreline erosion and to the ferry terminal basin.

Bulkhead construction is expected to begin around July 10 and take approximately one month to complete.

Due to the urgency of the situation, Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan initially authorized the emergency permit in March, then reauthorized the action on June 4 following project design changes.

The bulkhead is the initial phase of a broader, long-range NCDOT plan to address shoreline erosion at the site, for which the National Park Service is accepting public comment.  See story here.

The ferry terminal at this location is the only free transportation link between Ocracoke and Hatteras islands, and a crucial part of hurricane evacuation routes.

The stacking lanes at the South Dock (which is at the north end of Ocracoke Island), have been closed for many months due to relentless ocean pounding. Photo: C. Leinbach
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  1. Why the wait to fix it? Are we just now noticing this? This should of been addressed years ago, now its going to cost tax payers more than what it would have.

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