Q&A about Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts along N.C. 12
We’ve gotten a variety of questions about our recovery plans along N.C. 12 in Dare County. We want to answer those questions, so you can better understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Q: Why are you rebuilding N.C. 12 in the same place?
A: We’re rebuilding N.C. 12 in the same location at the S-Curves, because it is the fastest way to restore access from Hatteras Island to the mainland. We know it hasn’t been easy for residents and visitors to use the emergency ferry route and the four-wheel drive route to get where they need to go. That is why we’re committed to reopening the highway to all vehicles as quickly as possible. Our goal is to have traffic flowing on N.C. 12 on or by Dec. 25.
Q: Are you considering beach nourishment at the S-Curves?
A: Yes. Beach nourishment is currently under consideration as we work to rebuild and reopen N.C. 12 near Mirlo Beach. We’re working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate this option. No final decision has been made yet.
Q: Can you put down mats on the four-wheel drive route?
A: It is possible to put mats on the soft sand; however, they will only stabilize the route for four-wheel drive vehicles. The mats will not provide a surface stable or level enough for all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive vehicles. Therefore, we have chosen at this time not to use mats, because they would not greatly enhance the level of service we can provide, and they would take a great deal of effort to maintain.
Q: Can you put down gravel on the four-wheel drive route? Why not pave the four-wheel drive “sand road” and put dunes to the east of it?
A: If we put down gravel or asphalt on the four-wheel drive route, we would be creating a permanent structure on Pea Island that is not inside our property lines. To do that, we would need to get special approval from a number of regulatory agencies. In addition, if we built a road on a new location, we would also need to build a temporary bridge at the overwash area to ensure access during storms. These combined steps would take far longer to implement and open to traffic than our current plan of rebuilding N.C. 12 in the same location, which should be complete on or by Christmas Day. Our goal is to reopen the highway as quickly as possible.
Q: Do you have long-term plans for the S-Curves?
A: Yes. In Rodanthe, the department is considering two options. The first one 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. The second 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 community center. These long-term solutions are currently moving through the environmental planning process required by the state and federal governments. We plan to award a contract for construction in the fall of 2013.
Visit our new N.C. 12 webpage for more information.