Sandbags and dunes are finished
on Highway 12 at the S-curves
By IRENE NOLAN
last of 2,048 giant sandbags was laid on Monday at the S-curves in
northern Rodanthe to protect the reconstructed Highway 12 in the area
that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy in late October and several
northeasters in November.
Today, the last load of sand was
delivered by dump truck from a sandpit in Avon to complete a rebuilt
dune protecting the sandbags, according to North Carolina Department of
Transportation site engineer Pablo Hernandez.
that by Friday, equipment will have been cleared, the area will be
cleaned up, and Barnhill Contracting will have shaped the west shoulder
of the highway, where sand has built up from construction work, wind,
and some ocean overwash.
“We’ve done all we can do but the final paving,” he said.
final paving will have to wait until spring when the weather is warmer
for transporting the asphalt for two hours to the site.
The sandbags and rebuilt dune, Hernandez said, are wider and higher
than those that were protecting the road before Sandy.
dune he said is about 10 to 12 feet high and covers two levels of the
big sandbags that total 8 feet in height, including 4 feet of the
sandbags that are buried below ground and another 4 feet on top of that.
last week or so of work, Hernandez said, was marked by ocean overwash
when crews didn’t expect it and little overwash when they did.
the weekend before last during a lunar higher tide, the ocean surprised
the crews by washing over the work area for the sandbags. And
Wednesday night, Jan. 16, when a storm brought wind gusts up to 50 mph,
there was no overwash. The wind blew over a few orange cones
that was it.
The ocean is still right on the east sides of the rebuilt dune, with
little or no beach protecting the road.
However, DOT is still pursuing nourishment of the beach to hold back
the storm tides.
Lewis, chief of staff to DOT chief operating officer Jim Trogdon, told
the Dare County commissioners at their meeting last night that DOT has
signed off on a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to do the beach nourishment. Now, the department is
waiting for the Army Corps to sign off.
Lewis said the agreement had to go through Washington, D.C., which has
held it up longer than usual.
many details must be worked out and permits obtained before the Army
Corps can start putting sand on the beach at the Highway 12 hotspot.
Meanwhile, the road is vulnerable in even the weakest of the winter and
also added that he has been working on a barge under the Bonner Bridge
with the contracting company that is sinking test pilings for the
replacement bridge, which could be under construction soon – depending
on the outcome of a lawsuit by environmental groups to stop it. The
test piling project, he said, will be finished about mid-February.
To keep up with Highway 12 news, go to the NCDOT Facebook page, which
is at a new URL. You can find it at https://www.facebook.com/NCDOT