October 13, 2011 FacebookTwitter More...

Buxton culvert work causes confusion for motorists and headaches for businesses


The North Carolina Department of Transportation is replacing a culvert on Highway 12 in Buxton between Conner’s Supermarket and the entrance to the Osprey Shopping Center, and the road is closed to through traffic.

However, the signage at the site is confusing to motorists and is causing headaches for businesses in the village.

The good news is that the work could be finished by Sunday, Oct. 16.

Signs at each end of the closure say “Road Closed….Detour.”

Approaching from the north, the sign is just past the intersection of Highway 12 and the Buxton Back Road near the Orange Blossom Bakery.  Southbound traffic is routed onto the Back Road.

Approaching from the south, the sign is just past Buxton Village Books, diverting northbound traffic onto Crossway Road and then to the Back Road.

All of the businesses between those two road closed signs are open, but apparently both islanders and visitors are confused by the signs, and many seem to think the highway is closed to traffic for the entire stretch.

Motorists can go around the detour signs to reach business along the highway, but some have not figured that out.

At lunchtime today, the parking lot at the Osprey Shopping Center was almost empty, and there were few folks in Conner’s, normally a hub of activity around the noon hour.

The timing on the beginning of the culvert work wasn’t the best.  It started on Monday, the same day that Highway 12 reopened to traffic and visitors returned to all of Hatteras Island.

NCDOT Division Bridge Manager in Edenton, John Abel, says the timing on the replacement was not what the department wanted either, but little could be done to avoid it.

He said DOT had planned to replace the culvert in the early spring, but that the area was further damaged during Hurricane Irene, so the work was put on a fast track.

DOT, he said, had hoped to do the work while Highway 12 was still closed on Pea Island and there were fewer people on Hatteras.

That turned out not to be possible because of the time needed for the department to obtain such things as the pipe and the dewatering system on short notice.

Abel said this afternoon that the signage is pretty standard for a project of this type, but he would see about replacing the “Road Closed” sign with one that says “Road closed to through traffic.”

After the work is finished, Abel said DOT will allow traffic to ride over it for a few weeks before it is paved.

While the work is in progress, motorists can reach the car wash, Natural Art Surf Shop, Rusty’s Surf ‘n Turf restaurant, the ABC store, Buxton Munch, Ocean Notions, and Papa Nino’s Pizza by approaching from the north.

And they can reach First South Bank, Cape Pines Motel, the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Old Gray House Gifts and Shells on Light Plant Road and Conner’s Supermarket by approaching from the south.

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