The Cape Hatteras National Seashore maintenance staff has begun a project to restore Ramps 44 and 49 to their original elevations and reduce the effects of heavy rainfall that flooded the ramps for weeks last fall and again around Memorial Day.
“Over time with use and maintenance the ramps have developed a depression or trough and this project restores the ramps to the original elevations,” said John Kowlok, the seashore’s chief of maintenance. “The culverts we are installing will allow a more natural flow of the water.”
The restoration project begins with Ramp 49 in Frisco. The ramp will be raised up to 36 inches, using sand. A mixture of shell and clay will be used at the entrance to the ramp.
In addition, two solid plastic culverts, 24 inches in diameter and 40 feet long, will be installed under the road to allow water to flow through and not be dammed up at the ramp.
At Ramp 44 in Buxton, the ramp will be raised to 24 inches, using sand, and a mixture of shell and clay will be installed at the entrance to the ramp. A pair of plastic culverts, 24 inches wide and 40 feet long, will be installed under the ramp to let the water flow through.
Completion of the work on both ramps is expected in January 2017, pending material deliveries, weather, and any mechanical issues. The full delivery of sand could take several months.
Seashore officials says that efforts will be made to avoid ramp shutdowns, or minimize them to no more than 30 minutes. Signs will be posted and off-road vehicle corridors will be marked during construction. During construction at Ramp 44, traffic may be diverted to Ramp 43 to expedite completion of the project.
A similar beach access ramp elevation restoration project will take place at Ramp 4 on Bodie Island at a later date.
The cost of this project, including the future restoration of Ramp 4, will be covered by revenue generated through the sale of off-road vehicle permits.