HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. (WAVY) - For the second time in a year, Hatteras Island was accessible only by emergency ferry service.
According to Dare County Emergency Management, there will be no access to the island due to washed out roadways on Highway 12 on Pea Island north of Merlot Beach. Overwash took out chunks of road.
Emergency ferry service will be required until Thanksgiving. The extent of the structural road damage is still being assessed at this time. Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus was briefed by the North Caroline Department of Transportation.
"I would say 75 to 80 percent is fine," Burrus said.
Until the road is cleared and rebuilt, the island is closed to visitors and residents can take the two-hour ferry from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe.
Burrus reports the new temporary bridge is in excellent condition.
"I was impressed how the bridge worked," Burrus said. "I was impressed how the inlet worked easing up the pressure off the northern Outer Banks."
The washout is frustrating for business owners and residents like Terry McNulty who can't get off Hatteras Island without the ferry.
"What should take half an hour to Nags Head will end up being a ten hour trip," McNulty said.
McNulty owns Sting Wrays, which was flooded by Hurricane Irene.
"We had almost two feet of water in here after Irene, so we never reopened until the spring of this year... it was our first year of operating. For us to not have any damage this year is definitely a silver lining. It could have been much worse for us," McNulty said.
Burrus says once drivers get past the 1,000 feet of torn up road at Mirlo Beach, sand is on the road all the way to the Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet.
"I want the DOT to allow four-wheel drive traffic around Mirlo... that will allow us to move traffic and people and take the stress off the ferries," Burrus said.
According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Hatteras-Okracoke ferry service resumed Wednesday at 1 p.m. The schedule has been revised and will be as follows:
Leaving Hatteras at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. 10 p.m. and midnight.
Leaving Okracoke at 5 a.m., 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m.
For more information, visit darenc.com.
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