Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flower Power! Seeds for Salvo

Lance leaved Coreopsis
NCDOT is  proud to be teaming up with local master gardeners on the Outer Banks to help bring back plants and flowers on Hatteras Island that were destroyed by Hurricane Irene.

One of our most popular and nationally-recognized highway beautification efforts is our wildflower program. It began in 1985 and has become an integral part of what we do to make our highways  more attractive. Wildflower beds are installed and maintained across the state by NCDOT's Roadside Environmental personnel in each of the fourteen highway divisions.

We're taking some of our seed stock, plus some trees and donating it to the Seeds for Salvo initiative -local master gardeners are sharing seeds from their own gardens to help replace batters plants and flowers on the island.

We talked with Derek Smith, who heads up our wildflower program to get the 4-1-1 on what NCDOT is contributing.

NCDOT donated: 
We donated these specific species because: 
  • They are North Carolina natives 
  • They are seasonally appropriate - they are meant to be planted in the fall 
  • They are low-maintenance 
Planting/maintenance tips: These plants were chosen partly because they are fairly self-sustaining once established. Just plant them in the fall, and you don’t even have to water them! The sumac will take a few years to mature. The wildflowers should bloom in the spring. The frost this winter will burn the top greenery off the daylilies, but the root mass will stay underground; b/c these plants are perennials they will come back year after year.

Is this something we typically do after storms or disasters? Smith can’t remember NCDOT doing this type of donation before. It's the result of a special request which came down from Clair Sutton, Dare Master Gardener alumni, in conjunction with Sen. Stan White’s office. Homeowners, businesses and the local Garden Club will plant NCDOT’s donations around Dare County.

The seeds will be available at The Boathouse Food Pantry in Salvo on Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday, from 9 a.m. until 12 noon until all are taken.

For more info, contract Clair Sutton in Kitty Hawk at

Outer Banks Sentinel story

NCDOT Wildflower Index

Monday, October 24, 2011

Power to Pea

Cape Hatteras Electric Coop has begun receiving materials to construct a permanent transmission line at the Pea Island breach.

Check out the Facebook page...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Permanent Solutions

NCDOT staff and partners met today to begin work on the long-term solutions for the section of N.C. 12 hard-hit by Hurricane Irene.

You can read more here about the session, but here are some of the options discussed:
For fixing the largest Pea Island breach:
  • Beach renourishment;

  • Constructing a bridge within the existing easement; and

  • Building a bridge or road on a new location.

For fixing problems areas near Rodanthe:
  • Beach renourishment;

  • Building a bridge where the road now stands; and

  • Constructing a bridge or road on a new location.

Some of the next steps in the overall process:
  • Holding a panel discussion with experts in the fields of coastal science and engineering to learn about the changes in conditions along N.C. 12 resulting from Hurricane Irene, identify issues and constraints associated with future maintenance of the highway, and provide engineering advice on design parameters for long-term solutions at the two breach sites;

  • Hosting public meetings to formally present the options to citizens, gather their input and answer their questions;

  • Providing all feedback to the Merger Team and securing support to begin the permitting process; and

  • Presenting a realistic, fundable, buildable design plan to Gov. Perdue.

The process to develop permanent solutions for the two breaches on N.C. 12 is a continuation of work already under way as part of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project. Phase one of the project involves replacing the 2.7-mile bridge over Oregon Inlet, which is currently in the design stage. The project also includes an active coastal monitoring program that uses scientific data to determine what types of improvements are needed on N.C. 12 between Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Rodanthe and when that work will occur. Using this program, NCDOT will enact phase two of the project, which will permanently fix the areas damaged by Hurricane Irene.

News Bits

A couple of things of note: there's a new deadline for applying for aid after Irene - Nov. 30

And - NCDMV's  mobile office will be back on Hatteras tomorrow and Friday.

Monday, October 17, 2011

NCDOT Now Takes a Ride on the Temporary Bridge!

This week's edition of NCDOT Now, the department's weekly video news update, is now available.

It takes you across the temporary bridge crews built over the largest breach of N.C. 12 on Pea Island caused by Hurricane Irene and shows the paving work done to reopen the highway to traffic as quickly as possible.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Now What?

Now that the temporary bridge is done and N.C. 12 is open all the way down Hatteras, what happens next? Stay tuned to this blog, and on Twitter @NCDOT_NC12 for updates and info on the next phase of the post-Hurricane Irene era for this iconic roadway.  In the meantime, we'll try to keep you updated on other events and news happening in and around the area.  Feel free to send us suggestions for how you'd like us to stay in touch!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's next Tuesday!

Or maybe sooner!

N.C. 12 Update 10/05/2011 

 The N.C. Department of Transportation will reopen N.C. 12 no later than Tuesday, Oct. 11 after the road has been closed due to the damage caused by Hurricane Irene in August.

 “Our hope is to open before then, but right now we are confident work will be complete on or before the 11th”, said resident engineer Pablo Hernandez.  “We will open to road earlier if we can.”

 At the Rodanthe breach area, crews completed paving the asphalt base for the road patches south of the mid Pea Island breach and began grading the sand for the roadway embankment leading to the southern end of the bridge.

At the temporary bridge location on Pea Island, crews worked all night and into the early hours to set deck panels at the north end of the bridge after it was completely lowered onto the permanent bridge bearing supports.

The southern half of the bridge is in the process of being lowered onto the bearing supports. Crews still need to install six of the 12 bridge bearing supports, anchor the bridge in place and finish installing deck panels; however, the following items are complete at the temporary bridge location:

Piling: all 82 piles driven.
Sheet Piling Bulkhead: all 726 linear feet installed.
Concrete Footings: all 12 footings poured.
Bridge Truss Spans: all 662 linear feet placed.

Night Moves

The N.C. 12 temporary bridge crews worked all through the night and into the morning, lowering the north half of the bridge onto its permanent bearing supports, and setting deck panels, among other things.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jack Under the Wood

This photo came in with this morning's batch from the site of the temporary bridge on NC12 and out of context it might look a little strange, if not precarious:

So, what's going on here?
      Yesterday, our crews installed hydraulic jacks underneath the bridge truss and began lifting it in order to remove the temporary roller bearings used to extend the bridge across the breach.  The jacks will also be used to lower the bridge onto the permanent bearings.  This is a very delicate procedure where the bridge is alternately supported on wood blocks and lowered with the jacks approximately  four to six inches at a time.  Eventually, the bridge will be lowered approximately two to five feet, depending on the location along the bridge alignment. 

      This week's NCDOT Now features video of the work on NC 12:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Herons and Cranes

More Milestones!

Over the weekend, crews checked off several key components of the temporary bridge installation over the breach on Pea Island, as you can see from the graphs at right.

There's still a considerable amount to go, however.  On the bridge, crews still need to install the bearing supports, lower and anchor the bridge in place, and install deck panels.

As we have been saying, completion of the bridge does not mean N.C. 12 can be reopened.  Paving must be completed around the bridge and the work on the portions of the highway near Rodanthe also must be finished. When that's completed, then N.C. 12 can be opened to traffic.  Unfortunately, the work that must be done now would be the most effected by bad weather of everything we've done so far.  So that's why we just can't name a specific date as to when the highway will be reopened.  Katia, and a Nor'easter have brought a significant amount of rain to the site, and extra crews were called in to keep things on track. Best we can say at this point is still early-mid October.

Folks have been asking us about Oct. 6 - that refers to Dare County's re-entry plan for Waves, Rodanthe and Salvo - NOT the reopening of N.C.12.  Here's the county's release on re-entry to those areas of Hatteras Island.