December 4, 2013

Dare sets priorities on emergency ferry,
extra ferry added at Swan Quarter

By IRENE NOLAN



Dare County Emergency Management has set its schedule for priority loading on the emergency ferry between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.

The ferry will be operating as long as the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet is closed because of safety concerns. The bridge was closed Tuesday afternoon, and the emergency ferry started a regular schedule this morning.

Dare County Manager Bobby Outten said he and the county’s emergency manager Sandy Sanderson have been monitoring the ferry lines, and so far there have been few problems.
 
Outten said that there will be special ferry runs for fuel trucks, and islanders with medical appointments will have priority on the ferries. Otherwise, he said, the county is not going to set up a more detailed priority system for residents at this time.

"We don't have a big visitor population this time of year," he said, adding that if a conflict develops, it's easily remedied. "It's a phone call to fix it.

“If it becomes a problem for our people getting to work, we will do something.”

Emergency Management is also cooperating with a family with a funeral on Friday on Hatteras, he said, and will do the same if there are other events, such as a wedding.

“Once we get through the weekend, we will know more,” he said, “but so far, so good.”


The following vehicles will be given priority loading in Stumpy Point and Rodanthe:
 
  • Dare transport vehicles with labels on the door
  • People with documented medical appointments
  • FedEx, UPS, and U.S. Postal Service vehicles
  • Maintenace vehicles for onsite restroom facilities (portable toilets at the Rodanthe ferry dock)
  • Medical transport for pharmaceuticals
  • School buses for school events
 
According to a news release from The North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division, the emergency route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe went into full operation Wednesday, with steady traffic and short-to-moderate wait times reported at both terminals.

Vehicles waiting for the ferry at the Rodanthe docks were backed up this morning, with traffic spilling onto and down Highway 12.
 
Also, in order to ease congestion on the emergency route and allow extra access between Ocracoke and the mainland, the Ferry Division has added an additional round-trip run on Pamlico Sound between Ocracoke and Swan Quarter.

The new schedule, effective immediately, is as follows:
 
  • Departing Ocracoke: 7 a.m., 10 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.
  • Departing Swan Quarter: 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.

The Ferry Division also announced that fuel trucks will have designated runs on Tuesdays and Fridays from Stumpy Point at 5 a.m. and from Rodanthe at 4:30 p.m. This will allow more deck space for regular vehicles on the other runs.
 
“The Ferry Division will continue to monitor traffic on the route to determine if any additional runs are needed,” according to the news release.

For more information or questions on Dare County’s priority loading guidelines, call Dare Emergency Management at 252-475-5655.

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