On March 19, Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for N.C. 12 in Dare County to help the N.C. Department of Transportation move ahead with a short-term solution to protect the critical coastal highway from frequent ocean overwash caused by high winds and strong surf.
comes at the recommendation of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata,
following a visit and town hall meeting along the Outer Banks on March 11.
The governor and secretary surveyed the area and talked with residents
about having a more reliable route between Hatteras Island and the
“The people there have real concerns about the road
they depend on to get to work, school or medical appointments,” said
Governor McCrory. “They need a highway that is not forced to close every
time a storm approaches. By declaring a State of Emergency, NCDOT can
fast-track work to rebuild the beach along the S-Curves, so we can keep
the road open until a long-term solution is in place.”
A series of storms, including Hurricane Sandy last fall, resulted in severe beach erosion along N.C. 12 at the S-Curves.
has already executed an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
to nourish the beach along the S-Curves. NCDOT is currently working
closely with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to
swiftly acquire the permit needed to conduct the work. The target date
to begin beach nourishment is mid-to-late spring.
NCDOT has also
acquired $20.8 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency response funding
from the Federal Highway Administration to pay for the beach
nourishment. The one-time emergency response effort will fortify the
section of N.C. 12 most often threatened by powerful winds for three
years by which time a permanent solution should be built.
know this work can’t wait. N.C. 12 is an important pipeline for visitors
who have a major impact on the local and statewide economy.” Secretary
Tata said. “We want to ensure residents get the help they need now as we
continue to look for innovative and strategic ways to make a lasting
At this time, NCDOT is considering two long-term
solutions for the S-Curves, a roughly one-mile section of N.C. 12 just
north of Mirlo Beach. They include a bridge within the existing easement
and a 2.5-mile bridge that extends into the Pamlico Sound. The
department will hold public meetings about the options this summer and
plans to award a contract for construction this fall.
March, strong winds pummeled the Outer Banks, causing significant
overwash at the S-Curves and forcing the road to close on and off
temporarily for more than a week. NCDOT crews have reopened the road and
are now in the process of replacing the sand that blew off the sandbags
installed after Hurricane Sandy last year.