December 18, 2014

NCDOT crews are busy moving sand on Pea Island

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews have been busy on Pea Island since last week both repairing damage to dunes caused by last week's northeaster and building a dune berm to reduce ocean overwash on Highway 12 at the temporary bridge at the inlet, opened by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

According to division maintenance engineer, Sterling Baker, the heavy seas from a coastal storm that pounded Hatteras Island from Dec. 7-9 caused roughly five breaches in the dune line on Pea Island.  The ocean also came over the top of the dunes in another two to three areas.

"None of the breaches were over 500 feet in width," said Baker, "but they allowed an appreciable amount of overwash to flood the road and wash out the shoulders in several locations."
NCDOT crews are scraping the sand off the road and pushing the dunes back into place.

Traffic delays have been reported to be minimal, and the work is expected to be completed this week.

Also, the communications blackout on Hatteras Island that lasted about seven hours on Monday, Dec. 8, was caused when a fiber-optic cable was cut by Lee Electrical, a contractor for the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative. The outage took down all Internet and cell phone service on the island and some land telephone lines, especially in Frisco.

Susan Flythe, general manager of CHEC, said that the contractor was working to replace a transmission pole on Pea Island.  The cable, she said, was located only three inches from the pole, and Century Link is not charging the electric cooperative or the contractor for the repairs.

NCDOT and crews for Barnhill Contracting are also working at the temporary bridge on Pea Island to build dunes north and south of Highway 12 to protect the road from overwash.

Even minor storms this fall have caused the ocean to overwash the highway in the area, especially south of the bridge.  Even though traffic at times has been reduced to one lane, vehicles were still having to travel through deep standing saltwater.

Baker said the new dunes will be about 900 feet in length north of the bridge and 550 feet south of it.  They will be about 25 feet wide at the base and 10 feet high.

The sand is being mined, he said, from the terminal groin on northern Hatteras Island at Oregon Inlet.

The work should be completed in late January.

Baker also said the recently completed beach nourishment  at the S-curves in northern Rodanthe held up well in the storm.

We did lose some beach in areas," he said, "but the initial design accounts for some routine loss, especially in the first few months following the completion of the initial work.  We do not have a quantitative amount of loss, but we did have some loss which was expected."

DOT also announced last week that contracts have been awarded for two maintenance projects on the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.

Work on each project will begin in early 2015, and both projects are scheduled to be complete by mid- June.

A $331,250 contract was awarded to Precon Marine Inc. of Chesapeake, Va., for repairs to concrete along the underside of the bridge deck. This work involves removing loose or deteriorated concrete and replacing it with shotcrete -- a form of concrete that is projected or “shot” onto a surface. 

These repairs will be made at approximately 249 locations identified as priority areas during the most recent regular two-year inspection of the bridge in May of this year. 

A $889,401 contract was awarded to Smith-Rowe LLC of Mount Airy, N.C., for repairs to the steel crutch bents currently in place from bent 108 through 114. These steel crutch bents were installed in 1989, and after years of being exposed to the elements, need to be replaced, DOT said. 

Work will involve removing the upper portion of each steel crutch bent from under the bridge deck to just below the water surface. New steel crutch bents will then be bolted into place. 

The bridge will remain open to traffic during these projects with only a single lane closure in place. Both directions of traffic will be guided through the work site with either flagmen or automated traffic control measures.

Motorists are advised to use caution while traveling in the area and to expect delays. NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert, and obey the posted speed limit. 

For real-time travel information at any time, visit the Travel section of the NCDOT website, call 511, or follow NCDOT on Twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website.

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