December 18, 2012

Paving begins on Highway 12 as
Christmas reopening goal nears

The North Carolina Department of Transportation began paving this morning along a 0.4-mile section of Highway 12 at the S-curves just north of Rodanthe on Pea Island. The pavement on this portion of the highway was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in late October.

By mid-day, the paving of the road was the topic of much buzz on the island – on Facebook, at the post offices, the pharmacy, the beauty salon, and grocery stores. Islanders are clearly excited and ready to have a highway to the north.

 DOT has planned to have the highway reopened by Thanksgiving, but two back-to-back northeasters during November sent more ocean overwash over the road and prevented crews from working for most of several weeks.

Crews for DOT contractors were ready to start paving last week, but lost another two days to another northeast blow.

Still, according to DOT’s resident engineer Pablo Hernandez, the goal is to have the road open to all vehicles on or before Christmas.
According to DOT, paving on this section of roadway at the S-curves will consist of three layers, with crews hauling the asphalt in from a plant in Williamston. They are putting down the first layer today.

Weather permitting, crews will add a second, thinner layer tomorrow. Once the second layer is complete, they will paint lines on the road and make sure the edge of the pavement has a gradual slope – not a sharp drop off – to ensure driver safety.

Hernandez said the main two obstacles to this type of work are weather and equipment failure at the asphalt plant. 

Though no northeast winds are forecast this week, a fast moving cold front Thursday night with southwest and then northwest winds is predicted to increase wave heights on northern  Hatteras to 8 to 11 feet early Friday morning.  Hernandez said he is hoping that won’t cause problems for the repairs or the four-wheel-drive route.

He added that the contractor doing the paving has more than one asphalt plant it can use.
When the work is complete, DOT will remove the checkpoints and reopen Highway 12 to all vehicles.
Crews will continue filling sandbags after the road reopens. DOT said today about 650 of the 1,800 giant sandbags have been filled. The sandbag work will continue into January and once all bags are in place, the dune will be rebuilt.

Once this work is complete, the final layer of asphalt will be put in place.
Until the highway reopens, four-wheel-drive vehicles must continue to pass through checkpoints at the temporary bridge on Pea Island and at Mirlo Beach to travel between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
More information on the Highway 12 recovery effort is available on the DOT  N.C. 12 Recovery website and N.C. 12 Facebook page.
In addition, a new webpage that showcases projects along Highway 12 from the replacement of the Bonner Bridge to short- and long-term solutions for the breaches caused by Hurricane Irene last year is now live at

Click here for the holiday ferry schedules between Hatteras and Ocracoke and the mainland and Ocracoke.

The emergency ferries will continue to run between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe until Highway 12 reopens.

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

comments powered by Disqus