North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper took a trip to Hatteras Island on Monday, stopping at the Bonner Bridge excavation site of the severed cable before talking to a packed pier house at the Avon Pier.
Word spread quickly about the visit, and roughly 160 residents from Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands came to the pier to see the governor, and ask questions. The large crowd represented local business owners, representatives from island property management companies, employees, charter fishermen, and locals of all ages.
A number of news crews from area stations including WAVY 10 and WRAL also shuffled into the packed pier house to hear the governor’s remarks.
Bob Woodard, Chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, made the introduction to the crowd. “This man here has stepped up to the plate for Dare County,” he said.
Cooper then addressed the group from a central location by the counter of the Avon Pier.
“The state of North Carolina is here to help,” said the governor. “We want the power back on as quickly and as safely as possible.”
“We’re piercing together help from everywhere [we can],” he added. “…You are a crown jewel for our state, and when people think about North Carolina, they think about the Outer Banks.”
Gov. Cooper noted that power companies and agencies from all across North Carolina were joining in the efforts to help get the power back on to the islands, noting that one cable had already been repaired, while another cable which was initially thought to be damaged was actually in good condition. “I’m a little encouraged by the fact that there’s just one more cable left.”
He also noted that the state would continue to do everything possible for a quick resolution. “We signed the emergency order as quickly as we could,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can.”
“We’ve got to get this thing done because people are waiting [to come here],” he said. “I just wanted to come out here and let you know that all of North Carolina is behind you.”
After addressing the crowd, the governor offered to pay his dollar to walk onto the pier. Residents, camera crews, and County Commissioner Chairman Woodard joined him to point out the empty beaches that would otherwise be full of sunning vacationers. He then stopped to take pictures with residents, and to answer questions from the crowd on the current efforts to restore the power.
The visit lasted roughly an hour or so, and afterwards the crowd mingled to talk and see how their fellow locals were holding up with the lack of business.
Per the most recent CHEC update, crews and specialists are hard at work simultaneously constructing an overhead transmission line and continuing excavation at the site of the damage to reach and repair the remaining damaged cable.