The Hatteras / Ocracoke Island
ferry, as well as the northern Ocracoke Island section of N.C. Highway
12, is scheduled to reopen to the public on or before Friday, September
“We are hoping to have it open enough to have
traffic through [the area] on Friday,” said NCDOT Public Relations
Officer Tim Haas. “The schedule calls for pavement repairs to be
completed on or before September 28, and the completion date for all
work is November 30.”
The ferry has remained closed since Hurricane
Florence brushed the Outer Banks on September 13 and 14, causing ocean
overwash that damaged more than a mile of the northern section of
Highway 12 on Ocracoke Island. Portions of the pavement were flooded
and subsequently damaged, while a large section of the oceanfront dune
bordering the highway was wiped out.
Immediately after Florence impacted the area, an
emergency contract was initiated with Barnhill Contracting Company of
Kitty Hawk, N.C., and crews have been hard at work removing sand and
debris, and repairing the road.
Once the road has been repaired and has reopened,
the crews will then concentrate on reestablishing the dune line that
protects Highway 12 – a process that is scheduled to be completed by
the end of November.
“Fixing the road obviously comes first, and then
they are going to rebuild that dune to protect [the area] from future
storms,” said Haas. “The dune is gone, if you’ve seen the pictures, but
we need to get the road [and the ferry] open first.”
There was no definitive word on the condition of
the stacking lanes at the Ocracoke Island terminal, which were damaged
during the series of March 2018 nor’easters and later repaired,
although Haas reports that the sandbags put in place to protect the
area held up during the storm, and the condition of the stacking lanes
will not affect whether or not the ferry reopens.
Currently, visitors can access Ocracoke Island
via the Swan Quarter Ferry and the Cedar Island ferry, which have both
reopened to the public. Hyde County has also started running tram
service on Ocracoke Island for walk-on ferry passengers, with trams
cycling around the village every 30 minutes. The trams are free and
available to the public.