Despite some additional ocean overwash due to a low pressure system looming off the coast, the NCDOT North Carolina Ferry System reported on Wednesday afternoon that plans are still in place to reopen the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry to the public on Friday, September 28.
“Weather and tides permitting, we still hope to have the road open on Friday, with the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route resuming service at the same time,” said the North Carolina Ferry System in an online statement. “We should have a more definitive answer on timing sometime tomorrow.”
The ferry has been closed since Hurricane Florence brushed the Outer Banks on September 13 and 14, causing oceanside flooding that affected 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 November 30.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry has been making limited runs to haul equipment and crews to the repair sites along N.C. Highway 12. Currently, visitors and residents 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.