With the traditional peak of the hurricane season just days away, the North Carolina Department of Transportation today successfully tested new ferry ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, marking a major improvement to the emergency ferry route that provides access to Hatteras Island in the event of storm damage to Highway 12.
On Thursday, the M/V Stanford White made a “dry run” between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, testing the ability of the newly installed ramps to load and unload traffic at both emergency terminals. DOT engineers say the ramps passed all performance tests with flying colors.
“We hope not to need these ramps anytime soon,” said North Carolina Ferry Division Deputy Director Jed Dixon, “but if we do, the new ramps will provide the public safer and more reliable access to the emergency route that serves as a lifeline to Hatteras Island after a major storm.”
The route was used extensively in 2011 after Hurricane Irene and again in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. Both storms caused major damage to Highway 12.
The new ramps are more corrosion resistant and operate with hydraulic lifts rather than the older chain fall hoist system. The ramps can also receive power from the ferries themselves, an important feature given the tenuous nature of electrical power in the days after a major storm.
DOT contractor T.A. Loving of Goldsboro installed the ramps during the spring and summer months. The total project cost was $1.78 million.