May 26, 2015

DOT, local officials aim to alleviate
OBX summer weekend traffic

As a top tourist destination, the Outer Banks draws thousands of visitors each week, bringing heavy traffic along major northeastern North Carolina routes on weekends. The N.C. Department of Transportation has worked with officials from Dare and Currituck counties, as well as the Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau, on several initiatives to help alleviate heavy traffic congestion along U.S. 158 and N.C. 168 heading to and from the Outer Banks.


To help visitors avoid traffic on U.S. 158 and N.C. 168, the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau has developed a webpage that provides several smartphone-ready alternate map routes, as well as other tips for avoiding summertime traffic, including traveling on days other than Saturdays.

Most alternate routes detailed on the webpage originate in Virginia for visitors coming from points north. It also includes an option for visitors from the north who travel into North Carolina on N.C. 168 and then decide to seek an alternate route.

To learn more and see each route, visit


Through coordination with local municipalities in the Outer Banks, NCDOT’s Division One traffic office has implemented the following traffic-improving measures in advance of the summer travel season:

  • No Right Turn on Red – Northbound traffic on U.S. 158 making a right turn to continue north on N.C. 12 at the Kitty Hawk Rest Area intersection will no longer be able to make a right turn on red. Signs were installed at this location last week week.
  • “Do Not Block Intersection” Signs – Signs have been installed at traffic signals on both directions of U.S. 158 entering and leaving Dare County advising motorists not to block intersections.
  • Traffic Signal and Traffic Camera Monitoring – Traffic signal timing and operations will be closely monitored during peak travel times and adjusted as appropriate to ensure traffic is flowing at optimum levels. In addition, traffic cameras through Currituck and the northern beaches have been tested and are working properly. Every effort will be made to ensure operation during the summer season.
  • Travel Time Message Signs – Message signs on southbound N.C. 168 in Currituck County will display real-time travel times to the Outer Banks area. Signs have been tested and are operating on the weekends.
  • Alternate Travel Route Sign – A portable message sign directing drivers to tune into a radio station for traffic information will be in place on N.C. 168 north of Sligo. This sign will make drivers aware of the alternative travel route using N.C. 34, U.S. 17 and U.S. 64. This system will be activated during peak travel times. The sign is expected to be up and running by this weekend.
  • Lane Assignment Signage – This signage will be placed on southbound U.S. 158 prior to the Wright Memorial Bridge to give advance notice to motorists of which lanes they should be in. This should reduce lane changes approaching the Kitty Hawk Rest Area intersection.  Message boards were used for this information during Memorial Day weekend. If it is determined to be effective, permanent signage will be installed.

Local law enforcement will also provide a limited presence at key intersections during peak travel periods to help assist with traffic flow.

For Outer Banks specific traffic alerts, visitors can follow NCDOT’s two local twitter feeds, @ncdot_ncoast and @ncdot_nc12. Major alerts can also be found on the NCDOT NC 12 Facebook page.

For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter. You can also access NCDOT Mobile, a version of the NCDOT website especially for mobile devices. Visit from your mobile browser.

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