November 11, 2012

Highway 12 open for 4-wheel drive vehicles in daylight hours only

The four-wheel-drive only access area of Highway 12 has reopened for daylight travel only, following an early morning accident that killed one North Carolina Department of Transportation employee. 
Because safety is NCDOT's top priority, Highway12 access will be closed to traffic at dark. The area is remote, and current road conditions are more challenging to navigate at night.

NCDOT is currently working with local officials to develop options for traveling along this stretch of Highway12 that will provide additional travel times. Until such options have been developed and approved, Highway 12 will be open during the daylight hours only for four-wheel-drive vehicles only.   A department spokesperson said this afternoon that the exact opening and closing time for “dark” has not been determined yet
The emergency four-wheel-drive access route was reopened to residents and visitors for the first time since the storm Saturday afternoon. It offers one lane in each direction, except at the temporary bridge and the Bonner Bridge, where it narrows to a single lane for vehicles traveling in both directions.

Before the accident, the highway was to be open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

It was closed to all traffic early this morning after the accident, but reopened about 9 a.m.
37-year-old Michael Brad Stevenson of Hertford was killed in the accident, which happened sometime between 1 and 1:45 a.m. just south of Oregon Inlet, on a section of Highway12 being repaired after Hurricane Sandy and the recent northeaster. 

The accident involved Stevenson and one other NCDOT employee, who was injured. Both were operating dump trucks. The North Carolina Highway Patrol is currently investigating.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Stevenson family during this extremely difficult time,” said NCDOT Secretary Gene Conti. “The men and women who work to keep N.C. 12, and all of our highways, safe and open for travel are special people.  When something like this happens, it hits all of us in the DOT family hard.”
Stevenson, a resident of Hertford, N.C., was a transportation worker in Pasquotank County and had worked for NCDOT for approximately 15 years.  He is survived by his wife and their three children.
“Brad had worked for the department for over 15 years,” said Jerry Jennings, Division 1 engineer.  “He was an excellent equipment operator and a very loyal and dedicated employee – the kind of person everyone liked to work with.”
In an abundance of caution, NCDOT officials, working with local authorities, have modified the hours that N.C. 12 will be open to four-wheel-drive vehicles.

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