Our Neuse River flows out into Pamlico Sound, a vast expanse of shallow water separated from the waters of the Atlantic by a thin fringe of sand - the Outer Banks.
Hurricane Sandy brushed the Banks October of 2013, and since then the transportation system has been beset with problems. Was Sandy the last straw that pushed the Banks into irreversible decline? We will know soon enough - perhaps by the end of the 2014 hurricane season.
The purpose of this page is to provide links to the stories I find on this subject. Each link while have a brief excerpt. The Neuse River Sailor is not going to editorialize or express an opinion, but will simply provide the source documents so the reader can understand the situation and come to his or her own conclusions.
"The National Weather Service is predicting 3-5 inches of rain for Ocracoke Island over the next 48 hours. A northeast wind is expected to build to 30 MPH with gusts between 40-45 MPH.
"HWY 12 is closed north of the Pony Pens due to a breach in the dunes estimated to be 340 feet in length. NCDOT was able to fill a smaller, secondary breach yesterday but HWY 12 remains extremely vulnerable to high surf and over wash.
"The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route is suspended until HWY 12 reopens. The NC Ferry Division has also suspended the Cedar Island-Ocracoke route due flooding on roads in Cedar Island, and will not resume operations until road conditions improve."
"The Ferry Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation plans a test run in May of a passenger-only vessel to travel across Hatteras Inlet to Ocracoke..
"Division spokesman Tim Haas said the 149-passenger boat typically runs in the Caribbean in the winter and Boston during the summer. Haas said the vessel's test run will serve as a stop on its way to Boston.
"The passenger ferry trip would take about 1½ hours to travel between the Hatteras Village docks to the Silver Lake docks in Ocracoke Village. Vehicle ferries from Hatteras typically dock at the north end of the island about 13 miles from the village.”
"Concerned about damage and injuries from boats striking Bonner Bridge, the U.S. Coast Guard says it will take steps to keep vessels away from the bridge when water and weather conditions make navigation perilous in Oregon Inlet.
"New rules announced Wednesday give Coast Guard officials the authority to keep vessels 100 yards away from the Outer Banks bridge when the navigation channel is too shallow or other conditions pose hazards.
"Boaters sometimes veer outside the channel markers to pass under the bridge between unprotected support columns. A charter boat that slipped around the channel smashed into the bridge in August 2013, injuring some of the nine passengers aboard.”
"Could the tens of billions in damage inflicted by Sandy have been mitigated by something as prosaic as a natural beach?
"In a new book, 'The Last Beach' by Duke University marine geologist Orrin Pilkey and coastal studies researcher Andrew Cooper of the University of Ulster, the answer is yes.
"Published by Duke University Press, the book has been described by a British reviewer as 'science-based apocalyptic non-fiction.'”
"The North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to raise the roadbed on Highway 12 both north and south of the temporary bridge on Pea Island to help with continual flooding from ocean overwash in the area and continues to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build a berm on the oceanside of the south approach.
"There are currently no dunes between the highway and the open, flat beach on the south side of the temporary bridge, and the ocean overwashes in the area in even minor storm events and sometimes even during astronomic high tides."
"In a public meeting on Monday, Ocracoke residents heard from NCDOT ferry division management including director Ed Goodwin, and Harold Thomas, Jed Dixon, Chris Bock, and Tim Hass. Most of the 2-hour discussion revolved around why we are stuck with the “long” route, and what we can do about getting visitors to Ocracoke. The future possibility of passenger-only ferries on the Ocracoke-Hatteras route was a hot topic, but one with more questions than answers.
"The average wait time at Hatteras to get on a ferry to Ocracoke was two hours this summer. Hyde County Transit’s survey showed that the majority of daytrip passengers were willing to wait one hour. Ferry personnel could watch the webcams and see cars turn around and leave.
"A proposed passenger ferry route would run 24.5 miles dock to dock and land in Silver Lake harbor on Ocracoke. (There is plenty of dock space at existing docks for more boats.) Crossing time would be 80 – 100 minutes. If you knew which ferry you’d be on and could plan for it, the total travel time would decrease by half to get to Ocracoke and back."
"Hoping to unclog long queues of summer tourists who wait hours to board the slow car ferry at Hatteras, the state Department of Transportation says it will consider adding a faster, new kind of ferry that would take greater numbers of passengers to Ocracoke – without their cars.
"Each car ferry now hauls about 30 vehicles to the north end of Ocracoke Island – a 14-mile drive from the village, at the south end. Vacationers who want to skip the line might, one day, park their cars in Hatteras and walk onto a smaller vessel that would take up to 150 passengers to DOT’s other ferry terminal at Silver Lake, in the heart of the village."
"At Saturday's high tide, about 5 p.m., traffic was down to one lane on Highway 12 south of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet as ocean overwash flowed across both lanes of the road.
"Traffic was also slowing down at the Cape Hatteras Motel on the northern edge of Buxton, where water covered both lanes of the highway and was pouring into the oceanside parking lot."
"There's not been another word from the North Carolina Department of Transportation about the reason for abruptly stopping construction at the Pea Island bridge Wednesday morning.
"We promised our readers more information when we posted a cryptic, three-paragraph media release from DOT Wednesday. However, there's been nary a whisper from anyone.
"It's clear that, as one person noted, "there's a lot going on." And it obviously has something to do with the unrelenting legal battle that environmental groups are waging to stop the Bonner Bridge replacement and all related projects on Pea Island."
"Goodwin has requested that the ferry division do a feasibility study on passenger-only ferries. These would be smaller and faster than the lumbering boats we have now, and would possibly carry visitors all the way from the Hatteras ferry landing to the ferry docks in Silver Lake harbor on Ocracoke.
"Goodwin thinks many visitors would choose to leave their cars behind on Hatteras if they could get to Ocracoke faster. Facing a three-hour wait to take your vehicle over on a slow boat versus a 40-minute ride to the village that you can board right away – which would you choose?.
"Given that 'we won’t live long enough to see a bridge to Ocracoke,' and 'we’re just one storm away from South Dock [the Ocracoke side of the Hatteras-Ocracoke route] being compromised, if it’s hit just right,' Goodwin thinks that the ferry division needs to looks at all its options. He envisions using the passenger-only ferries in the off-season to make trips to and from inland towns such as Edenton. He would also like to see the ferry terminal in Swan Quarter get more traffic."
"The old ferry channel between Hatteras village and north Ocracoke has been a headache, especially since hurricanes Irene in 2011 and Sandy in 2012. It has been dredged off and on and continues to fill up with sand.
"The new route will be marked and maintained by the Coast Guard and the buoys will be lit at night -- something the captains haven't had until now.
"The new route...adds to the time for a ferry trip from 35 or 40 minutes to 60 to 75 minutes in some cases, but that the division is running six larger ferries on the route instead of four smaller ones, so is able to move about the same number of vehicles each day.
"However, the extra fuel is costing the Ferry Division about $1.2 to $1.5 million more a year at a time when the General Assembly is cutting the division budget."
"The state has requested that the ferry route be widened to 250 feet, and it would take a company like Great Lakes to do the job, but I would suggest that the ferry route not just be widened but also changed.
"A new ferry route running from marker 20 straight to the backside of the old dredge island and then tying into the area between buoys 2 and 3 outside of Ocracoke south dock would stay open for decades. Forty years ago the ferry route ran right through the middle of dredge island.
"Digging a four-mile long, 250-foot wide channel with an estimated 8 feet of sand to be removed to create a water depth of 13 feet would generate over 1.5 million cubic yards of material, which would be just about what it would take to rebuild the Hatteras spit and close the inlet up to its prior, more manageable size."
"We can agree, all of us, on this: It's our distinct good fortune that the Bonner Bridge is still standing.
"OK, maybe there are a few folks out on Hatteras Island who'd like it to really be an island again, a little more remote and a little less inundated by tourists and their motor vehicles.
"But that's a tiny minority, since most people who live on the island would be broke without that steady stream of visitors from near and far."
"Before World War II, the people who lived in the islands' fishing communities built their houses on high ground, far from the ocean's edge, and traveled by boat. That started to change in the 1950s, when paving began on State Highway 12. To protect the road from storms, workers piled sand east of the highway on artificial dunes first built in the 1930s. When storms carved inlets through the road, engineers filled them.
"Riggs has proposed that the state remove portions of State Highway 12 and stop maintaining the large dunes that protect it. Withdrawing the road and dunes would allow sand to wash over the islands and rebuild them. In his view, tourists could travel by ferry, like those that connect people to Ocracoke and Bald Head Islands today."
"A ferry trip across the ever-widening Hatteras Inlet is more than 3 miles farther and 20 minutes longer than the traditional channel route - which has been deemed unsafe because of continued shoaling - and the service will cost the state nearly $1 million extra this year.
"Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers has run out of money to dredge the roughly 4-mile-long channel."
"Despite the best dredging efforts of the US Army Corps of Engineers, NCDOT's Ferry Division today announced that the traditional ferry channel in Hatteras Inlet is still not safe enough to use, and that ferries between Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke will continue to operate on the longer "alternate" route.
"In response to the decision, the Ferry Division is moving a larger boat to the Hatteras Inlet route and will add five additional departures from each side beginning June 17, bringing the total number of runs on each side to 37."
"Some of us will be sweating this summer -- and not just because of the weather.
"There are two court opinions we're waiting for, a decision on the long-term solution for bridging the S-curves and north Rodanthe, and maybe finally some word on the "emergency" beach nourishment in that area."
"People waiting on either side of the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route for the wind to subside were relieved Friday morning when runs were resumed, but challenges still remain with weather and dredging.
"An unscheduled shuttle ferry today is helping to clear backed-up traffic to and from Ocracoke Island, however, it’s anyone’s guess how long the ferries will be able to keep running. Nasty northeast winds that had forced cancellations on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to continue through the weekend, blowing 25 mph to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 mph."
"A rally was held March 28, within sight of the dredge barge in Oregon Inlet, to draw attention to beach erosion on Hatteras Island. Several dozen people hoisted poster board signs saying "Save Our Sand," and encouraged passing motorists to honk in support.
"The dredging of Oregon Inlet contributes to erosion on beaches south of that waterway, said Carol Dillon Dawson, owner of the Cape Hatteras Hotel at the northern edge of Buxton village. She has a front row seat, observing the beaches adjacent to her property grow narrower with each passing season. Small dunes of sand are taking shape around the parking lots of her family's hotel, a long standing business on both sides of Highway 12."
"The sheer number of agencies involved and the tangle of state and federal environmental regulations almost assured that planning to replace the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge would be hugely time consuming.
"Depending upon each individual point of view, it is impossible to lay the blame for this two-decade nightmare at the doorstep of any one entity or even groups of organizations.
"Each reader must make their own decision."
"When the original 1993 DEIS identified the short, or parallel bridge as the preferred alternative, Dare County officials were satisfied and their focus shifted to gaining federal approval for a northern groin on Bodie Island to further stabilize the existing Bonner Bridge and reduce shoaling in Oregon Inlet.
"But once U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and erosion studies steered planning toward including study of a longer bridge option that would swing 17 miles over the Pamlico Sound and abandon N.C. 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the county became more aggressive.
"Even before the 2005 Supplementary Draft Environmental Impact Statement was completed, the North Carolina Department of Transportation began to signal a move in preference from the short bridge to the long bridge."
"Any short bridge option assumes the continued existence of N.C. 12 through Pea Island, a strip of asphalt precariously close to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound. Flooding, overwash and washout plague the stretch of that runs from the Bonner’s southern landing on Pea Island to the village of Rodanthe, resulting in road closures and costly repairs.
"On the other hand, that same stretch of road is one of the most picturesque vistas along the entire Outer Banks. It leads to popular spots for fishing, surfing, wind and kite surfing, bird watching, photography opportunities and remote beaches, as well as the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center and man-made impoundments — all of which were considered by Dare County government to be important tourism and economic resources."
"A bridge is built in 1962, designed to last 30 years.
"Thirty years later, in 1993, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is already three years into planning a replacement.
"Twenty-one years pass, and the original bridge still stands, construction on the replacement bridge has not started and a plan endorsed by a team of federal and state agencies is tied up in federal court."
"There’s not much dispute these days, up and down the coast, about whether the ocean is rising. The question is: How high will it go here, and how fast?
"North Carolinians must wait until 2016 for an official answer. That’s the law."
"When the Bonner Bridge suddenly was closed Dec. 3, highway traffic to Hatteras Island stopped, but the tides and currents did not.
"Even after emergency repairs fixed the immediate issue and allowed the bridge to reopen, the cause remains in place - the water that flows around and under the bridge, creating a problem called scour."
"Governor Pat McCrory and Transportation Secretary Tony Tata announced the reopening of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on N.C. 12 on Sunday, Dec. 15. North Carolina Department of Transportation engineers deemed the bridge safe for traffic after several sonar scans, driving two test pilings, and multiple inspections over the past week. The emergency repair work to add more support to the bridge continues."
"To protect the traveling public, the N.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns.
"Routine sonar scanning of the bridge identified scouring concerns, or areas where too much sand has eroded from the support structure of the bridge. As NCDOT crews continued to monitor these conditions, inspections revealed additional areas of concern, which led department officials to decide to close the bridge immediately for the safety of all residents and visitors of the area. The bridge will remain closed until the department can bring in additional resources to inspect the bridge and make necessary repairs to fortify the structure. NCDOT has declared a state of emergency as a way of expediting the process and steps are already underway to begin repair work as soon as possible.
"“Closing the Bonner Bridge is necessary to keep all travelers safe, but we know it will have a devastating effect on the people who live along and visit the Outer Banks,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We will work to safely reopen this vital lifeline quickly, and hope to be able to begin construction on a new bridge as soon as possible.”"
"The North Carolina Department of Transportation completed additional inspections Friday of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which carries N.C. 12 over Oregon Inlet, and confirmed the bridge support structure is in need of immediate repairs, but remains safe for the traveling public for now.
"In the interest of being prepared for any scenario, the Ferry Division has already tested its emergency ramps at Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, and can deploy additional ferries when circumstances dictate."
"The objective of this project, for a client-based Masters Project for the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines , is to analyze motivations for stakeholder preferences and illuminate tradeoffs in the decision making process to maintain a viable and reliable transportation corridor between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe along the North Carolina coast over the next 50 years."
"The past two years, storms repeatedly have washed out N.C. 12, cutting off access to the island and raising doubts over whether state and federal agencies should keep the road open. Some scientists and lawmakers question plans to spend $100 million to $200 million to build bridges at vulnerable spots and widen receding beaches.
"But a new study says keeping N.C. 12 open is well worth the expense, said Lee Nettles, director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau."
"Summer has come to Ocracoke and none too soon for local business owners who have struggled through a winter of suspended -- and longer -- ferry rides and a cool spring
"The streets and shops are again seeing more tourists, thanks, in part, to the resumed regular ferry run between Hatteras and Ocracoke, which returned to its normal schedule on Sunday, June 16."
"The NCDOT Ferry Division’s Hatteras-Ocracoke route returned to its original route with the start of service on Sunday morning, June 16. The move was the result of collaboration between the Ferry Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.
"There had not been ferry service on the original route since Jan. 18, when an overnight storm made it too shallow for ferries to travel safely. The alternate route between Hatteras and Ocracoke had been in use since Jan. 22."
"A project to widen the beach to protect Highway 12 on the north end of Rodanthe will not be ready for construction for months, despite some public perception that it would be completed before hurricane season.
"'To begin this process after the hurricane season is well under way is pathetic to say the least,” said Jett Ferebee, owner of Camp Hatteras, in an e-mail to Jennings. “One marginal storm will destroy all of your work. This then opens us all up to the criticism that we are wasting money rebuilding this road.'"
"In December 2010, the state decided to build a 2.8-mile bridge parallel to the existing Bonner Bridge, which it called Phase I of the long-term solution. Decisions on Phase II – addressing areas prone to damage between the bridge and Rodanthe – would come later, as erosion and rising sea level altered the shoreline.
"Then Hurricane Irene, in 2011, cut five inlets in two locations. Four were filled in, and one – which many locals call New New Inlet – is spanned by a temporary bridge. Irene caused so much damage that Phase II cannot be delayed.
"Everything has to be done at once."
"In December, highway engineer Pablo Hernandez watched traffic pass in and out of Rodanthe. Occasionally, he stepped aside to let a piece of heavy equipment roar past.
"A portion of Highway 12 at the S-curves was missing. In its place, the Atlantic Ocean lapped at a line of sandbags where workers were trying to restore road access to Hatteras Island.
"The hurricanes and other storms that ripped up Highway 12 nearly eliminated the fall tourist season in 2011 and hindered it in 2012, but gross occupancy receipts on the Outer Banks set a record last year, at $382 million for the first 11 months.
"Depending on storms and erosion rates at specific locations, added sand can stay in place only a few years – a few months, in some extreme cases. At the S-curves in early March, several days of high seas washed away dunes that had been built with trucked-in sand only weeks before."
"In 1947, the Gastonia Gazette wrote that a new paved road would 'run from the village of Hatteras northward to the village of Avon (some 17 miles), and it will be cunningly designed to defeat both the Atlantic ocean and Pamlico Sound, and various unfriendly winds.'
"The news story went on: 'This paved highway will cost over $293,000, and from the standpoint of residents served may well be the most expensive highway the commonwealth of North Carolina ever built. There is no assurance that it will survive the fall and winter gales.'
"The Rocky Mount Evening Telegram in 1951 – a year before all segments of Highway 12 had been finished – wrote: 'The going is rugged, however, between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe at the present time. Mid-October storms did not help the situation. The present road or trail is mostly a series of water-filled holes. A washout at New Inlet along the sandy trail has been the point of grief for many motorists.'
"The 1962 Ash Wednesday nor’easter that savaged much of the East Coast tore open a 500-foot-wide inlet just north of Buxton. A bridge was built, then destroyed by a December storm. The Army Corps of Engineers closed the breach with 41,000 sandbags and a pile of junked cars. The artificial dunes were replaced, and Highway 12 was rebuilt behind them."
"In the 65 years since it was first paved, N.C. 12 has become indispensable to the 4,300 residents of Hatteras Island, whose economy is built on tourism.
"But the road also hurts the island, blocking the natural transport of sand from front to back and causing it to shrink.
"Everyone agrees that Highway 12 is in trouble, but after that, the arguments start. Any answer to the problem is likely to cost millions – maybe billions – of dollars, and deciding how to spend it has taken decades already."
"The proposed bridge would connect mainland Currituck at Aydlett to the county’s Outer Banks beaches, terminating in Corolla. Plans call for tolls to pay back the debt on construction.
"It’s time for proponents to revisit the arguments for the mid-county span and bring those arguments back into the public arena for debate and discussion.
"Relief from hours-long backup in Currituck would benefit all Outer Banks visitors, including those with ultimate destinations on Hatteras, Roanoke, and Ocracoke islands.
"What is less certain is whether other potential benefits of the bridge justify the $600 million expense."
"After test runs on Saturday where a vessel scraped the bottom 'a little bit' and even experienced captains had difficulty passing ferries in a narrow section of the channel, Dixon decided that the short channel was still unsafe to use.
"But by Wednesday, charter and private vessels and commercial fishing boats that draw 5 feet or less had resumed using the Rollinson Channel -- the ferry channel -- between the harbor in Hatteras village and Hatteras Inlet.
"'That area has been rapidly changing for over two years without any real good explanation,' he said. 'We certainly had more dredges there. It is really difficult.'"
" The ferries have been using an alternate route between the two terminals since Friday, Feb. 22, when the original route became too shallow for ferries to travel safely.
"[I]n three areas of the Hatteras Inlet, shifting sand has already started moving back into some of the dredged areas.
"The Ferry Division plans to move ahead with starting its summer schedule on Tuesday, May 7 on the alternate route. That will add another 12 trips in each direction from both Hatteras and Ocracoke, bringing the number of trips to 32 a day from each terminal."
"The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., has issued a coastal flood advisory for northern Hatteras Island and is forecasting there could be minor ocean overwash in the usual spots – Mirlo Beach and the S-curves in northern Rodanthe – especially during high tide.
"There is also a coastal flood advisory for Ocracoke, where the northern end of the island was overwashed in a northeaster last month."
"In late 2012, Hurricane Sandy and subsequent northeasters severely eroded the beach, dunes, and highway in northern Rodanthe that once protected CHEC's 115 kV transmission line that provides electric service to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. To ensure reliability for our membership, CHEC has been working towards moving that transmission line further west.
"In late March, CHEC officials met with members of the Mirlo Beach Property Onwers Association, many of whom are not happy with the plan to relocate the transmission lines."
"When is all this uncertainty going to end?
"Never, according to retired East Carolina University Geology Professor Stanley Riggs, unless North Carolina’s decision-makers come to grips with certain facts about the long-term future of our barrier islands and other coastal areas."
"South of Oregon Inlet, Riggs states the mostly simple structure of Pea Island and other parts of Hatteras are no longer worth saving. The lifeline of those villages, N.C. 12, can no longer be moved westward in many places.
"As an alternative, Riggs proposes 'A String of Pearls' with population centers focusing on the more complex substructures supporting Rodanthe/Salvo/Waves, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras villages."
"In an April 9, 2012 article on the N.C. Bar Association web site, Stacey Carless reiterates North Carolina’s preferred 'concept of maintaining natural beaches by not allowing hardened structures' on the state’s coastlines.
"Ironically, that is the exact situation prevailing in Kitty Hawk today, with one glaring exception.
"The hardened structure serving as the last line of defense between the town’s infrastructure and the Atlantic Ocean isn’t a groin, a jetty, a seawall or an offshore artificial reef.
"The hardened structure that defines the town’s boundaries between the land and sea is a road, specifically N.C. 12."
"NC 12 is open, however crews are out working to remove sand and water. Please drive with caution and look for flaggers!"
"Plans for a permanent bridge over the Pea Island Inlet are the subject of public hearings that will be held this week in Manteo, Rodanthe, and Ocracoke by the state Department of Transportation. The public will be able to review the plan and accompanying maps, ask questions and make comments.
"Last month, an environmental assessment was released that describes the preferred alternative for Pea Island and the numerous studies involved in the decision. It will be the first project in Phase II, and barring delays associated with the Bonner lawsuit, both bridges will be constructed concurrently."
"The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division resumed operations of its Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route the morning of Friday, Feb. 22. It is using a temporary alternate route that will operate until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes the channel dredging to re-open the primary route."
"No high-speed ferry exists today that could safely carry millions of vehicles a year across the heavily shoaled Oregon Inlet and Pamlico Sound, according to a new transportation report released late last month.
"And even if engineering a shallow-draft, high-capacity ferry were possible, it said, the cost would be prohibitive."
"When a boat crew from Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet got under way Monday, it wasn’t for search and rescue, drug interdiction, marine safety, or defense readiness — missions typically associated with the Coast Guard.
"But the day’s mission was no less important — to deliver much needed medicine and pharmaceutical supplies to the island of Ocracoke."
"Since the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route suspended operations Jan. 18, progress has been made by the contractor hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the federal channel.
"The project began Dec. 1, 2012, and since that time the contractor has removed 76,751 cubic yards of material to a required depth of 10-feet, with two feet of over dredging."
"Operations at the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route are suspended until further notice.
"The Ferry Division has been in contact with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who will survey the channel as soon as possible.
"In the meantime, an extra run is being added to the Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route starting tomorrow and Ocracoke residents and vendors carrying necessary goods and commodities will be toll exempt using either the Swan Quarter or Cedar Island routes."
"W. Stanford White has a capacity of 38 cars, but today there were four cars, a box truck and two tractor trailers aboard. As we reached marker one far out in Stumpy Point Bay we passed inbound ferry Croatan, another River Class sister, carrying the colors of Methodist University. It was covering the 11:00 am schedule out of Rodanthe, and I'm sure all passengers were staying to the windward of the three garbage trucks which made up most of its cargo."
"NCDOT has implemented vehicle size and weight restrictions on the four-wheel drive route. Since the route opened, a number of vehicles have gotten stuck in the sand and required a tow truck to get them out. This not only causes delays for other vehicles using the route, but it also damages the makeshift road.
"To help protect access and make traffic flow more efficiently, NCDOT is no longer allowing any vehicle larger than a one-ton truck to use the route. In addition, trucks with trailers are not permitted. Two-wheel drive vehicles are not allowed on the route under any circumstance."
"Crews have 15 pieces of equipment – working from north to south, clearing sand and water from the roadway between Bonner Bridge and the temporary bridge, utilizing NCDOT and contractor equipment. Additional equipment will be moved from Kitty Hawk as that area gets cleared.
"Sand on the roadway is 3 to 4 feet deep in places.
"More than three miles of dunes have been lost or severely damaged."
"Reports from Hatteras Island are that the Bonner Bridge and New Inlet Bridge will require some repair that will prevent safe use. An emergency ferry service has been put in place between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe and is running at this time. Residents and service vehicles are all that are permitted on the ferry today, but visitors will be welcomed on the ferry as of Friday morning. The ferry is running from 5 AM through 9:30 PM daily and the route takes approximately 2 1/2 hours to navigate."
"Huge, 10 - 15 foot-high battering waves on top of the storm surge have washed over Highway 12 connecting North Carolina's Outer Banks to the mainland at South Nags Head this morning. The highway is now impassable, and has been closed. "
"The paper includes good discussions of how inlets are formed (commonly by hurricane overwash in areas of low sand volume and soft underlying geology) and where the potential hotspots for new inlet formation lie. All of the area south of Oregon Inlet, including most of Pea Island, is geologically susceptible to inlet formation."