The stretch of highway in Ocracoke where the ocean deposited sand up to 4 feet deep recently is getting a wall of sandbags and some much-needed repair.
N.C. 12 will get $1.7 million in repairs after an offshore hurricane, northeast winds and high tides collapsed the protective dunes that run along the roadside.
Barnhill Contracting of Rocky Mount will place 2,000 sandbags along more than a half-mile of the highway, rebuild dunes and repair minor pavement damage, according to a release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
Construction is expected to begin within the next two weeks and last through March. Lanes will be closed at times.
Last month, Hurricane Teddy churned hundreds of miles offshore, sending large swells to the Outer Banks shores. At the same time, strong northeast winds and new moon tides pushed the water even higher.
For several days, crashing waves collapsed the dunes and covered the highway at the north end of Ocracoke. Edges of the pavement crumbled. Ferry operations between the island and Hatteras Village were suspended.
That section of N.C. 12 gets perennial restoration.
Including the latest repairs, the state will have spent about $13 million fixing N.C. 12 in Ocracoke in the last decade, according to state statistics.
Hurricane Dorian buckled the pavement and flattened dunes last fall along about 1,000 feet of N.C. 12 and then a subsequent winter storm caused more damage. The state replaced the asphalt and for the first time installed more than 2,500 large sandbags along the dune line. The repairs cost nearly $7 million.
Last year’s sandbags withstood much of the September pounding surf and prevented more severe destruction, said Tim Hass, spokesman for the state highway department.
N.C. 12 in Ocracoke, however, remains vulnerable.
A state study on that section of N.C. 12 included an option of moving the ferry docks about 6 miles down the road to a spot known as the Pony Pens, Hass said.
The pavement north of there would be removed and turned over to the National Park Service. The project has not been funded and for now, N.C. 12 and the ferry docks will remain as they are.
Jeff Hampton, 252-491-5272, email@example.com
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