NCDOT is currently holding meetings and taking part in discussions with partner agencies to determine the most efficient and reliable way to restore traffic to N.C. 12 on Pea Island near Mirlo Beach. NCDOT also is actively partnering with US Army Corps of Engineers to pursue emergency nourishment along this same area.
However, until rough seas calm and crews can fully assess the impacts of the most recent Nor’easter, the department cannot make a final decision.
In the meantime, we continue to work hard to keep the four-wheel drive route open each day for as long as tidal conditions allow. Rapid changes do cause overwash and force intermittent closures to ensure motorist safety. Check road status.
Long-Term Recovery Plans:
NCDOT is currently developing long-term solutions for the breaches caused by Hurricane Irene on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and in Rodanthe in August 2011. These same areas were also impacted by Hurricane Sandy and two Nor’easters this year. Hurricane Irene video
After holding several public meetings and collecting input from a panel of coastal engineers and scientists, NCDOT is considering the following options:
- Replacing the temporary bridge on Pea Island with a permanent bridge within the existing easement; and
- Building a bridge from Pea Island to Rodanthe. One possibility includes elevating N.C. 12 onto a bridge within the existing easement, which would end just north of the community center and not require beach nourishment. Another option is constructing an approximately 2.5-mile bridge that would extend into the Pamlico Sound and connect back to Rodanthe just north of the Historic District.
Coastal Monitoring Program
To gauge the changes to Pea Island for years to come, NCDOT has instituted a Coastal Monitoring Program along N.C. 12. Using aerial photography and field studies, the department can note where shifts and weak spots are occurring. This information helps NCDOT decide where and when to make future improvements to N.C. 12 from the south end of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe.
The Coastal Monitoring Program was put into effect as part of the Bonner Bridge Replacement Project in December 2010. Therefore, any of the alternatives (beach nourishment, road relocation and bridging) previously studied as part of the original environmental analysis could be considered for future phases.