March 7, 2008

The highway is open, and life is back to normal on Ocracoke


We’ll 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 alternative route.

After a short introduction and recognition of the key players, the community enjoyed a potluck dinner.

Molasses Creek, ( 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 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

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