Ferry News

Storm pummels NC 12, county commissioners to discuss reopening Ocracoke

Damaged NC 12 on Nov. 17. Photo by Tom Pahl

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By Peter Vankevich

The weekend storm that pummeled the Outer Banks with two days of sustained winds of 30-plus mph and gusts much higher wreaked havoc on NC 12 and caused the ferry system to suspend operations.

Monday morning the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries resumed their regular schedules. The Ocracoke/Hatteras run remained shut down and the NCDOT is assessing that route, according to a press release this morning.

NC 12 between the Marc Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe was closed late Saturday afternoon and remained so this morning while crews worked to remove the sand. The last of the storm has moved on.

While the storm caused minor flooding in some areas of Ocracoke village during Sunday and this morning’s high tide and caused cancellation of school today, what the storm did again to NC 12 might have the biggest impact on when Ocracoke may reopen to visitors.

Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 6 badly damaged NC 12 on Ocracoke north of the pony pens in two locations, closing it down.  Road crews have been working on getting the road completed with a target date of Nov. 22 as the tentative reopening of the island to visitors.  

Ocracoke’s County Commissioner Tom Pahl inspected the damaged road Sunday afternoon around low tide with Keith Gaskins, an island NC DOT employee.

Pahl noted four sections of the dunes were knocked down spilling water and sand onto the road. Two of those were the same ones knocked down by Dorian and two were new sections of the dunes.

Pahl did not know the status of the newly laid macadam at two of the damage points.

“We had a phone conference with NCDOT and the Ferry Division,” he said. “They’re on their way now to look at it.”

Pahl said another phone conference will be held before tonight’s special Hyde County commissioners meeting at 6 p.m.

This meeting to discuss reopening the island will take place in Swan Quarter government center with videoconferencing at the Community Center.

On Oct. 3, NC 12 was reopened but restricted to 4-wheel drive vehicles to the South Dock to take a ferry to Hatteras.

The ferry route from Hatteras to Silver Lake has continued for all vehicles.

High tide Sunday morning, Nov. 17 caused some flooding in the village. Photo by Richard Taylor

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