December 3, 2012
Checkpoint moves south; part of Pea Island refuge reopens
By IRENE NOLAN
northern checkpoint on the four-wheel-drive-only portion of Highway 12
moved over the weekend from the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center to just
south of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet.
As a result, parts of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge reopened on Sunday, Dec. 2.
12 and the refuge had been closed since Hurricane Sandy in late October
damaged the road, leveled many of the dunes in the refuge, and
deposited several feet of sand in the roadbed.
On Saturday, Nov.
10, the North Carolina Department of Transportation reopened Highway 12
between the Bonner Bridge and northern Rodanthe to four-wheel-drive
vehicles only between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The southern checkpoint on the four-wheel route is in northern Rodanthe at Mirlo Beach.
Both checkpoints are manned by the Dare County Sheriff’s Office.
the route was established, DOT has repaired and repaved damaged deck
cables on the Bonner Bridge and repaired and repaved damage to the
approaches on the north and south of the temporary bridge at the inlet
opened last year by Hurricane Irene.
The only work remaining on
the temporary bridge is the repair of the guardrails, which was to
begin over the weekend. One lane of traffic will be maintained on
the bridge until the guardrail work is completed.
problematic area for DOT continues to be in the area of the S-curves
and Mirlo Beach, where about a half mile of road and sandbags were
damaged. There was also significant beach erosion in the area
during the hurricane and two northeasters that quickly followed it.
DOT is currently considering two options for repairing that part of the highway.
first option is to repair the highway in its original location, which
was the plan right after the storm. However, with the erosion in
the area, emergency beach nourishment will now be needed to make this
The second option is to temporarily move the
road to the west and install a short bridge over the trouble area that
overwashes with some high tides.
DOT has not yet said which option it will choose.
You can read more about the options in last week’s Editor’s Blog.
a sand road has been established west of the damaged highway, but the
sand is soft and deep and restricted to four-wheel-drive vehicles with
payloads of less than one ton. Vehicles with trailers are also
With the move of the northern checkpoint, the only
portion of Highway 12 now restricted to four-wheel vehicles only is
between the temporary bridge and northern Rodanthe.
Pea Island refuge is now open only from the north and only as far south as the temporary bridge.
Pea Island Visitor Center also reopened yesterday. Visitor Center
hours are 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily. The refuge is open during daylight
hours only and vehicles are limited to designated roadways and parking
INFORMATION ON HATTERAS ISLAND ACCESS
Four-wheel-drive route information
four-wheel drives vehicles are permitted on the route. There are
checkpoints south of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet and in
Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe.
The route is restricted to vehicles
with payloads less than one ton -- basically vehicles no larger than a
Ford F350 or a Chevrolet/Dodge 3500. Vehicles towing trailers also are
not permitted to use the route.
The route is open from 5 a.m.
until 10 p.m. daily. Before dawn and after dusk, a Dare County
Sheriff’s Office pilot car leads the traffic through the area.
NCDOT asks motorists to follow these important safety measures on the four-wheel drive access:
drive 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;
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 see;
- Drive slowly;
- Pay close attention to the temporary traffic signals and
- All four-wheel 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 visitors.
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 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.
The Stumpy Point-Rodanthe schedule is:
- Departing Stumpy Point at 6 a.m., 8, 10, noon, 2 p.m., 4, 6 and 10 p.m.
- Departing Rodanthe at 7 a.m., 9, 11, 1 p.m., 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Ferry information is available by calling 800-293-3779 (BY-FERRY) and pressing 1, or via Twitter at www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry.
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 your left.
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:
- Departing Hatteras at 6 a.m., 8, 10, noon, 2 p.m., 4, 6, 8, 10 and midnight; and
- Departing Ocracoke at 5 a.m., 7, 9, 11, 1 p.m., 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
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 1-800-293-3779.
Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries
Access to Hatteras is also available via sound ferries from the mainland to Ocracoke and then on the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry.
The ferries from Swan Quarter and Cedar Island require a reservation.
The Swan Quarter-Ocracoke winter schedule is:
- Departing Swan Quarter at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and
- Departing Ocracoke at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The Cedar Island-Ocracoke winter schedule is:
- Departing Cedar Island at 7 am., 10 and 4 p.m.; and
- Departing Ocracoke at 7:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4.
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 www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry.