November 8, 2012

DOT plans to open Highway 12 to
four-wheel-drive traffic at noon Saturday


Weather permitting, the North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to open Highway 12 to four-wheel-drive traffic by noon on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Currently Highway 12 is closed from northern Rodanthe to the Bonner Bridge as DOT crews remove sand and repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Access to Hatteras Island is by ferry only, though the island is open to all, including visitors.

Heavy seas from a northeaster this week have sent more sand and water over the highway at northern Rodanthe and Pea Island at high tide for several days.

DOT crews spent today surveying the impacts of the northeaster on parts of the road already damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Although the storm has moved north of the North Carolina coast, rough seas continue to affect the Outer Banks, especially during high tide.

On Pea Island, this week’s overwash did not hamper progress to repair the tension cables on the deck of the Bonner Bridge, but it has washed sand and water onto Highway at the temporary bridge. As the water recedes, crews will continue their work to rebuild the highway approaching the bridge.

The Mirlo Beach area is also seeing flooding and overwash on Highway12. Crews with Barnhill Contracting Co., which had been mobilized there earlier this week, had to move their equipment for safety reasons. They are currently in Avon stockpiling sand, which they will load onto trucks and haul to the S-curves for dune reconstruction once conditions improve.

DOT said today in a news release that initially, four-wheel-drive vehicles will have access to only one lane of the highway and Bonner Bridge, and in some parts, they will travel over sand.

In addition, NCDOT will close the four-wheel drive route from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the first few days to ensure motorist safety during the overnight hours. Once crews open both lanes of the temporary bridge at the new inlet on Pea Island, the department will allow four-wheel-drive traffic 24 hours per day.

Opening the four-wheel-drive route will reduce the pressures on the emergency ferry between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe and the sound ferries from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter to reach Hatteras Island through Ocracoke.

The island’s oldest and biggest surf-fishing tournament is now underway.  The Cape Hatteras Anglers Club Invitational Tournament has drawn teams from up and down the East Coast. About 120 teams of six anglers were expected, and early reports are that about 75 percent of those teams made the trip.

The tournament has been affected not only by Hurricane Sandy and the damage to Highway 12 but also by the northeaster.  Today was the first day of fishing and the afternoon session was cancelled because the ocean was lapping at the dunes on the east-facing beaches at high tide this afternoon.

Team fishing continues today. An awards dinner is planned for tonight, and the tournament wraps up with an individual competition on Saturday. Many of the anglers are eager to leave Hatteras via four-wheel over the closed areas rather than to have to deal with the long ferry rides and possible waits.

The department urges motorists to “know before you go” about traffic conditions along the Outer Banks. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter at
Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “” into the browser of your smartphone and bookmark it for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.

Other Hurricane Sandy Related Stories Under Local News 2012 Archives
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