skies, high winds, and heavy seas from low pressure systems off the
coast finally gave way to sunshine and just plain old breezy conditions
on the day after Thanksgiving.
Travelers on Highway 12 faced obstacles from long
ferry lines, to a few cancelled ferries, to intermittent overwash on
the four-wheel-drive only route around the S-curves just north of Mirlo
Beach in Rodanthe.
But there were visitors here for the Thanksgiving
holiday, and, for the most part, they didn't seem to be complaining
about the trip or the weather.
The high tides stopped overwashing the
four-wheel-drive route on Saturday, and traffic on the route was
reported to be heavy on both Saturday and Sunday.
Today, on its Highway 12 Facebook page, the North
Carolina Department of Transportation said that while surf conditions
have calmed considerable, normal high tides are still at the edge of
the broken up roadbed.
Sandbag installation began today at the south end
of the S-curve area, and DOT said engineers will be looking at the
trouble spots today and tomorrow and evaluating options for restoring
traffic through the area to all vehicles.
Paving work still needs to be done on the Bonner
Bridge and the Pea Island Inlet Bridge.
The four-wheel-drive route is open from 5 a.m.
until 10 p.m. Before dawn and after dusk, a pilot car from the Dare
County Sheriff's Office is escorting vehicles through the area.
Also, two enterprising Hatteras entrepreneurs with
flatbed trucks were loading up vehicles without four-wheel-drive and
trailering them over the sand road.
Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers who shot
photographs at the S-curves and Mirlo Beach on Friday and on Sunday
said that quite a few vehicles were getting stuck in the sand – many
because of driver error. Some smaller four-wheel-drives were also
Bowers' video was shot at high tide on Friday,
Nov. 23, and shows the four-wheel-drive route and contractors filling
sandbags around the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative's power poles at
DOT reports the emergency ferry route between
Stumpy Point and Rodanthe was busy, especially on Sunday as visitors
Fog on Friday and electrical problems on Sunday
caused several cancellations on the sound ferry routes between the
mainland and Ocracoke.
The days of northeast wind has taken its toll –
again – on the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. Two ferries did not run today
at low tide, which was about midday, because of shoaling in Rollinson
Channel in Hatteras Inlet.
Four-wheel-drive route information
Only four-wheel drives vehicles are permitted on
the route. There are checkpoints north of the Bonner Bridge and in
Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe.
The route may well be closed around the times of
high tide. To find out road conditions on the route and on Hatteras,
click on the flashing yellow icon at the top of the Island Free Press
NCDOT asks motorists to follow these important
safety measures on the four-wheel drive access:
four-wheel drive vehicles with a high ground clearance. Cross-over
four-wheel drive vehicles that are lower to the ground may get stuck in
the rugged terrain;
If you drive at
night, use extreme caution. There will be no lights staged along the
route, so your vehicle's headlights will offer the only way for you to
attention to the temporary traffic signals and
drive vehicles are encouraged to lower tire pressure to minimize the
chances of becoming stuck.
Emergency ferry schedule
The emergency ferry is open to everyone, including
Those wishing to use the emergency route are reminded to expect waits
and to be patient, as priority status is still in effect. Repair and
supply trucks have priority at all times. Dare County residents have
priority Monday through Friday.
The waits have been long – hours at times -- on
the emergency ferry, which takes at least two hours to cross the sound.
You are advised to arrive early and be patient. You might also consider
bringing water, coffee, soft drinks, and snacks.
Directions to the Stumpy Point Emergency Ferry
Dock at 100 Log Storage Road, off Highway 264: Take Highway
64 to Highway 264. Follow Highway 264 approximately 13 miles
past the entrance to the village of Stumpy Point. Signs for
emergency ferry service are posted to ferry entrance that will be on
Directions to the Rodanthe Emergency Ferry Dock at
23170 Myrna Peters Road, Rodanthe: Turn west off Highway 12
onto Myrna Peters Road, which is located just north of the Community
Building in Rodanthe.
Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry schedule
Visitors can now enter Hatteras Island via the
Hatteras Inlet ferry. The ferry is still running every two hours.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke schedule is:
Hatteras at 6 a.m., 8, 10, noon, 2 p.m., 4, 6, 8, 10 and midnight; and
Ocracoke at 5 a.m., 7, 9, 11, 1 p.m., 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
For visitors wishing to come to Hatteras through
Ocracoke, keep in mind that travel from Cedar Island to Ocracoke and
Swan Quarter to Ocracoke requires a reservation by calling
Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries
The ferries from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island
require a reservation.
As a reminder, the regular fall schedule on the
Pamlico Sound is:
Island and Ocracoke at 7:30 a.m., 10, 1 p.m. and 4;
Quarter at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and
Ocracoke to Swan Quarter at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Extra departures will continue to be offered on weekends as well, until
Highway 12 reopens north of Rodanthe and the emergency ferry route is
Ferry reservations can be made online at
www.ncferry.org or by calling 800-293-3779 (BY-FERRY) and pressing 2.
Ferry information is available via Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry.
schedules and reservations on the ferries from the mainland to
Ocracoke, go to the N.C. Ferry Division website at http://www.ncdot.gov/ferry/.