Wednesday, April 3, 2013


We understand that ocean overwash along N.C. 12 in the Outer Banks often makes it difficult for residents, visitors and businesses to get where they need to go efficiently. The state of emergency declared by Gov. McCrory helps us move forward with a short-term solution to protect this critical coastal highway at its most vulnerable location – the S-Curves.

Overwash at the S-Curves in March 2013
Currently, when overwash occurs at the S-Curves, it often forces N.C. 12 to close, making it challenging for people to get to jobs, education or medical appointments. A series of storms, including hurricanes Irene and Sandy, severely eroded the beach just north of Rodanthe.  Without the beach to act as a buffer, the strong surf threatens to undermine the structure and safety of the road.

That is why we have acquired $20.8 million in Hurricane Sandy emergency repair funds from the Federal Highway Administration to rebuild the beach at the S-Curves. Nourishment will provide much-needed protection to N.C. 12 until we can put a long-term solution in place in the coming years.

Although Buxton also experiences overwash, it was not included in the emergency declaration for several reasons. When overwash occurs, it washes water and sand onto N.C. 12, but it does not currently threaten the road’s integrity. Following recent storms, our crews have cleared the overwash off the road quickly without requiring repairs. In addition, N.C. 12 at Buxton does not qualify for federal emergency repair funds, and is not a candidate for state transportation funding for repair and protection at this time.

We have identified the section of N.C. 12 in Buxton as a “hot spot” that may see increased erosion in the future. We are studying this location to determine feasible long-term options for maintaining transportation along N.C. 12 if future conditions threaten the long-term viability of the existing roadway.