scene as Barnhill Contracting moves at breakneck speed to repair the
highway north of Rodanthe.
In three days, crews made incredible progress on bridging the gap in
Highway 12 at Mirlo Beach and are now trucking much of the sand five
miles north to the southernmost breach on Pea Island.
In addition to the Mirlo Inlet, there are three breaches and one inlet
on Pea Island. The “New New Inlet” is near the old ranger
station. There is one breach north of that and two to the
The North Carolina Department of Transportation intends to use a
temporary bridge to take travelers over New New Inlet, while permanent
repairs for the road are being planned and implemented.
Tuesday night, operations took a break to wait for low tide with hopes
of filling the area in north Rodanthe where the ocean washes over about
12 hours a day.
At 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, crews transported enough sand to the area and
connected the crude sand road with the broken sections of Highway 12 to
the other side of Mirlo Inlet, which was created by Hurricane Irene on
That section just north of the inlet is in terrible
The road was buckled, broken, and several sections had sunk waist
deep. The gaps were filled with sand, then covered with
walk mats that keep the heavy equipment from sinking or getting
When the single-lane road was secure enough, many dump trucks continued
five miles north and started filling in the southernmost cut in the
road on Pea Island. The highway for almost five miles north
of the torn-up section near Mirlo Beach was undamaged by the
Barnhill ferried over more 2-ton dump trucks to Hatteras Island on
Wednesday to hasten the process of moving sand from Kinnakeet Shores in
Avon to Rodanthe and Pea Island. About 33 dump trucks are now
working on the rebuilding project.
Most of the dump trucks are navigating the narrow single lane path over
the now plugged Mirlo Inlet but some sand continues to be dumped at the
beginning of the road which is now about four lanes wide. The
road has a 100-foot right-of-way.
Bulldozers are in constant motion moving sand in all locations,
especially the section of highway nearest the ocean as the high surf,
kicked up by Hurricane Katia, works to undermine the new road. At high
tide, water pours in through two gaps in the sandbags.
Waff Contracting of Edenton, N. C., will begin work to repair the
damaged and missing sandbags in this area shortly to stabilize the sand
road, according to Waff spokesman Pat Wimple.
Waff is also working on Pea Island to support the approach to the
temporary bridge on both sides by installing steel sheet pilings.
Yesterday at high tide, travel to the northern side of Mirlo Inlet was
suspended because the ocean was coming over the narrow passage
way. Full dump trucks lined up along a side road and waited
the tide to back off.
Concerns for higher ocean swells grow for today and early Friday as
Hurricane Katia, which is well east of the area, kicks up heavy surf
that is exacerbated by an approaching full moon.
The bigger New New Inlet continues to grow daily. The high
from Hurricane Katia is expected to increase the rate of deterioration
as the storm scoots north.
Upon completion of the sand road, Barnhill will back fill the road to
the repaired sandbags, remove the walk mats, and prepare the road for
photos in the slide show were taken at the Mirlo Beach subdivision,
where one house has collapsed and more are sitting in the surf and in
danger of falling down. Other photos show the Mirlo Inlet just north of
the houses and the torn up highway on the north side of the inlet.)
CLICK HERE TO VIEW SLIDE SHOW