7 Feb 2023
The NC12 Task Force wrapped up its work today, and over time there is reason to believe the work the members did will help keep the NC12 travel corridor along Hatteras and Ocracoke Island viable.
In a remarkable coincidence of timing, just as the Task Force has been wrapping up its business, the federal government has put into play a lot of funding for transportation networks. There will be a lot of competition for that money, but hopefully some of it will find its way to Dare and Hyde Counties.
One of the most significant aspects of the task force was bringing together stakeholders who very often find themselves on opposite sides of bridge and road construction—often arguing their case in court.
Most notable, perhaps, was the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) was at the table and it has to be emphasized that their contributions were significant and notable, including identifying a potential source of grant funding to move at least the first part of the project forward.
The Task Force identified priority areas and then selected preferred solutions. Perhaps the simplest way to think about the preferred solutions is too recognized that what is probably most cost effective in the long run will be to place a bridge in the sound bypassing the hotspots.
The area just south of the Basnight Bridge to the Jug Handle Bridge was identified as the first priority to be addressed. The logic was simple. If the road through that area becomes impassable, all road traffic to Hatteras and Ocracoke stops. Although emergency ferries have been used in the past, it is a barely adequate lifeline.
The same logic was applied to two other Hatteras Island hotspots—Avon south to Buxton and Frisco to Hatteras Village would also use a bridge in the sound to bypass the problem area.
Beach nourishment was seen as the short term solution.
Avon Village was seta side for some additional study with beach nourishment as holding plan.
The most intractable issues on on Ocracoke Island. The Hatteras/Ocracoke Ferry Dock on the north end of the island has a very limited life left before no amount of effort will keep the ocean away. Moving the docks is a prohibitively expensive proposition and adding to the woes, there is no good place to move the dock to.
Silver Lake in the heart of Ocracoke is too small to handle the amount of ferry traffic that comes from Hatteras and it adds more than an hour to the trip.
Making matters even worse—hard to imagine, but it is the case—the road from the north ferry dock to Ocracoke Village regularly overwashes and is increasingly endangered.
However, the recognition of the severity of the issues should move the discussion forward to find a solution.
So much happening in Outer Banks, NC. Stop by and for a visit and be sure to stay in a Brindley Beach Vacations home.