Hurricane Irene Aftermath
October 4, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Dare pushes back reopening tri-villages until after Oct. 10

By IRENE NOLAN



Dare County Emergency Management announced this morning that visitors with upcoming travel plans for the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo are advised that visitor re-entry will not begin until sometime after Monday, Oct. 10.

Dare County had previously said re-entry to the tri-villages would be sometime after Oct. 6.

The announcement has repercussions beyond visitors with reservations in Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo.

The southern villages of Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras are now open to visitors who must have “mandatory” ferry reservations to get here from the mainland via ferry through Ocracoke.

The mainland ferries from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island to Ocracoke cannot accommodate all of the visitors with rental reservations on Hatteras Island.

Furthermore, many have been told their travel insurance will not reimburse them for their rental costs just because they can’t get a ferry reservation.

Those folks were hanging onto the hope that repairs on Highway 12 would be completed and the road would be opened in time for their upcoming reservations with check-in on Saturday or Sunday, Oct. 8 or 9.

The Dare County announcement indicates that isn’t going to happen.

Highway 12 was breached in several areas during Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27.  The North Carolina Department of Transportation is installing a temporary bridge at the largest of those breaches on Pea Island and has filled in and shored up with sandbags a lesser breach at the S-curves just north of Rodanthe.

The work on the highway is tantalizingly close to being completed, and rumors have been flying for the past week about an official reopening date.

The rumors have been all over the place – with reopening coming in two days, on Oct. 10, on Oct. 15, and not until late October.

DOT has hesitated to set a date for reopening the highway.

“We currently have crews out on N.C. 12 working around the clock,” DOT spokeswoman Hollie Allen said in an e-mail this morning. “However, all of the remaining work is very weather dependent and we want to make sure any date we give out is firm. We are working to open the road as soon as it’s ready, but quality takes precedence over speed.”

A DOT Division 1 bridge engineer told the Outer Banks Voice yesterday that the highway would reopen on Oct. 15, adding that it could be a day or two earlier or later.

Meanwhile, others have been told by a DOT official that the road could open by Oct. 11.

As DOT noted, the final repair work is weather dependent, and the forecast is for fair weather for the next week, so Oct. 11 is certainly a possibility.

Both islanders and visitors have been frustrated by not having a firm date for reopening the road.

County and DOT officials have made it clear that they understand the frustration but don’t want to set a date and then have to disappoint everyone. They emphasize that they will get the highway open and reinstate full access to Hatteras as soon as possible for everyone.

“We hope to know a firm date later this week and are aiming to give everyone notice as soon as we have that date,” said Allen.

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