Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sandy and Nor'Easter Athena Batter the OBX; NC 12 Reopens to 4WD

Late season storms have not been kind to N.C. 12 and the Outer Banks this year.  As if Hurricane Sandy wasn't enough, a November Nor'Easter - dubbed "Athena" by The Weather Channel got in the way as NCDOT tried to repair the damage caused by Sandy.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, four-wheel drive vehicles were able to travel along N.C. 12 on Pea Island after N.C. Department of Transportation crews opened an emergency access route for them. This marks the first time NCDOT has opened the highway to residents and visitors since damage from Hurricane Sandy forced the closure of N.C. 12 from south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe on Oct. 28.

The route offers one lane in each direction, except at the temporary bridge and the Bonner Bridge, where it narrows to a single lane for vehicles traveling in both directions. The department placed temporary traffic signals at each bridge to regulate traffic flow safely.

View Nor'easter Athena and NC 12 - Access in a larger map

If you're going to use the route, just keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Only  four-wheel drive vehicles with a high ground clearance should use the route. Cross-over four-wheel drive vehicles that are lower to the ground may get stuck in the rugged terrain;
  • If you drive at night, use extreme caution. There will be no lights staged along the route, so your vehicle’s headlights will offer the only way for you to see;
  • Drive slowly; 
  • Pay close attention to the four temporary traffic signals.
Although N.C. 12 is open to four-wheel drive access, repair work on the highway continues in Kitty Hawk, the Bonner Bridge and across Pea Island. Heavy equipment and crews will work during daylight hours to fix the damaged pavement, move sand off the highway and reconstruct dunes.

NCDOT urges motorists to be aware that are traveling through an active work zone and use caution to ensure that they, as well as construction crews, remain safe.

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