The North Carolina Department of Transportation said today in a media release that dredging in the ferry channel in Hatteras Inlet is behind schedule and is now not expected to be completed until mid-April.
The dredging in the channel that has seen significant shoaling after recent storms was to be completed by March 31.
Because the channel is federally designated, responsibility for dredging falls to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which contracted the work to Cottrell Contracting, owner of the pipeline dredge Richmond, which has been working to clear the channel of sand since December.
DOT said today in its release that the delay is due to bad weather and mechanical issues with the dredge.
The project will clear a 10 to12-foot depth along the route between the ferry facilities on Hatteras and Ocracoke.
The dredge Richmond completed work in the Rollinson Channel last week and is currently working in the northwestern side of the Hatteras Inlet. It has encountered considerable shoaling as a result of recent storms that hit the coast, but the project is considered 75 percent complete.
The ever-worsening shoaling forced the suspension of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route on Jan. 18. An alternate route between the two docks began operations on Feb. 22, and will continue until the channel has been cleared enough to allow the regular route to be used again.
DOT announced earlier today that additional ferries will be added on the alternate route, which takes at least an hour, for the Easter holiday period.
For more information about the Hatteras ferry route, travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry or visit the N.C. 12 Facebook page.