The North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded two of three contracts to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy on Highway 12 on Hatteras Island and is making progress clearing sand from roads along the Outer Banks.
DOT is also making plans to open a four-wheel-drive route between Rodanthe and the Bonner Bridge.
Currently, Hatteras Island is accessible only by ferry – the emergency ferries from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe and the sound ferries to Ocracoke and then the Hatteras Inlet ferry to Hatteras Island.
The impending northeaster is not preventing the department from moving forward with awarding contracts to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
NCDOT awarded an $893,297 contract yesterday to RPC Contracting to reconstruct the pavement, repair sandbags, and construct a dune in Kitty Hawk, as well as repair the pavement on Highway 12 approaching the temporary bridge on Pea Island.
The department has also awarded an $186,293 contract to Carolina Bridge Co. to repair the tension cables on the bridge deck of the Bonner Bridge. Work began on Monday, Nov. 5.
Also, NCDOT is working to provide four-wheel drive access from south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe. Once a safe route is in place, crews will open one lane of the Bonner Bridge for four-wheel-drive-only to access Rodanthe and communities to the south via the bridge and Highway 12.
At Rodanthe, Barnhill Contracting Co. is mobilizing crews and equipment to begin work as soon as a contract is finalized. Work will include reconstructing the roadway and dunes and rebuilding the sandbags. It is scheduled to start in the next few days.
Completion of the repair work depends heavily on the effects of the northeaster.
Currently the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., is predicting only minor effects from the coastal low which will move east of North Carolina tonight and strengthen as it pulls north along the coast tomorrow.
The Weather Service has issued a coastal flood advisory until 7 p.m. on Thursday along the Outer Banks. The forecast is for minor water level rises of 1 to 2 feet on the oceanfront with gusty northeast winds tonight and water level rises of 1 to 2 feet along the soundside on Ocracoke and southern Hatteras as the winds turn more north and northwest.
The forecast is for rainy, windy weather through tomorrow.
DOT also advises that as the storm passes, ferry service may also be disrupted because of changing water levels or high winds. NCDOT will provide an update tomorrow afternoon on any impacts from the storm.
NCDOT will have a more specific timetable for completion of the highway and the four-wheel-drive access after the storm passes and crews can evaluate any damage.
Additional equipment and personnel are making good progress clearing sand from the roadway. As of this morning, crews had cleared 75 percent of the sand from the roadway. In preparation for reconstructing the dunes, 30 percent of the sand has been moved into place. NCDOT employees have been working extended hours over the past week to do this work.
The DOT Ferry Division will continue to offer extra departures from each side on its Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route this weekend, Nov. 9 through Nov. 11, to accommodate traffic demand. The extra weekend runs will continue until Highway 12 reopens north of Rodanthe and the emergency ferry route is deactivated.
The additional departures for weekends (Friday-Sunday) include:
As a reminder, the regular fall schedule on the Pamlico Sound for Monday through Thursday is:
Ferry reservations can be made online at www.ncferry.org or by calling 800-293-3779 (BY-FERRY) and pressing 2. Ferry information is available via Twitter at www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry.
The department urges motorists to “know before you go” about traffic conditions along the Outer Banks. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter/.
Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type “m.ncdot.gov” into the browser of your smartphone and bookmark it for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.