March 7, 2008
The highway is open, and life is back to normal on Ocracoke
By JAMIE TUNNELL
use any reason to have a potluck dinner on Ocracoke. The dinners
attract crowds for meetings, allow the community to visit all in one
room, let us sample from our favorite chefs, and are a good time to
celebrate any good news.
Ocracoke had a good reason to celebrate this week. The detour off
Highway 12 onto the Ocracoke beach ended on March 5 at 5 p.m. Ten days
ahead of schedule, Highway 12 opened up to public traffic and has
already seen its share of vehicles in 24 hours.
At 6 p.m. on March 5, the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association
sponsored a potluck dinner to celebrate the road opening, and the
community gathered with some of the prominent people who had a hand in
supervising, planning, initiating, and working on replacing the seven
bridges along Highway 12.
Pablo Hernandez and Al Russell, NCDOT Project
managers, joined the crowd and received applause at their introduction
for their hard work and assistance. Tony Spencer, Hyde County Emergency
Management, and David Warren, Hyde County Emergency Medical Services
director, were both recognized by Carl Classen, Hyde County interim
manager, for their great efforts during the past 10 weeks and during
the year prior to the project to plan for medical emergencies and other
unplanned events during the timeframe. NPS District ranger Kenny
Ballance also was recognized for the Park Service’s dedication to
delivering mail, medicines, and allowing access to the beach for an
After a short introduction and recognition of the key players, the community enjoyed a potluck dinner.
Molasses Creek, (www.molassescreek.com) and friends Coyote provided
entertainment at the end of the evening with a special rendition of
“Seven Bridges Road” by The Eagles, highly appropriate for
the project. The project replaced seven bridges along highway 12 with
six bridges and a culvert.
On the more logistical side of things, the NCDOT
Ferry schedule is back to its winter schedule as of today. See
www.ncferry.org for the 2008 seasonal schedule. The road is open and
Ocracoke soon will be ready to host the thousands of visitors who flock
to the island each year.
(Jamie Tunnell is editor of The Ocracoke Observer and a free-lance contributor to The Island Free Press.)
- Click Here For More Articles On The Ocracoke Bridge Project and Detour