Update: Cleanup continues in Outer Banks; bridge still closed
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation has crews and equipment working all along NC 12 on the Outer Banks to clear sand and water from the highway, and to begin determining next steps for repairs.
Here’s an update on efforts:
· US 158: Crews began pumping overwash back into the ocean Tuesday morning and continued through the night. They used nine pumps to get the water low enough to reopen the highway to traffic early this morning. Some standing water remains along the outside lanes.
· Crews continue to pump water back into the ocean between US 158 and NC 12 (Beach Road), where significant flooding remains on local roads.
· NC 12: One section of Beach Road just north of Kitty Hawk Road has significant pavement damage, and the protective dunes were washed away.
· Crews are using nine pieces of equipment to clear sand and debris from Beach Road elsewhere in Kitty Hawk. Most of this area is already open to traffic or will be later today.
· Initial structural inspections Tuesday determined that the bridge was safe for use by emergency vehicles. NCDOT and contractors working on NC 12 south of the bridge are using it to access Pea Island. The inspection did indicate repairs are needed on tension cables within the bridge deck on several spans, and the department is working to award an emergency contract for these repairs. The initial scour inspection also occurred Tuesday afternoon, and no noticeable change in water depth around the bridge’s support columns was detected. Additional surveys using side-scan sonar will take place today or tomorrow. The bridge cannot open to traffic until NC 12 is repaired, and the bridge repairs are expected to be complete before the roadway repairs.
NC 12 Pea Island
· Crews have 15 pieces of equipment - working from north to south, clearing sand and water from the roadway between Bonner Bridge and the temporary bridge, utilizing NCDOT and contractor equipment. Additional equipment will be moved from Kitty Hawk as that area gets cleared.
· Sand on the roadway is 3 to 4 feet deep in places.
· More than three miles of dunes have been lost or severely damaged.
· Initial inspections of the temporary bridge are continuing.
· At Rodanthe, surveyors are conducting a survey today to establish the extent of damage.
NC 12 Hatteras Island
· Some sand remains on the roadway at a few isolated locations, but the road is open to traffic from Rodanthe to the Hatteras Ferry terminal. Crews are using three pieces of equipment to continue to clear the road.
NC 12 Ocracoke
· Crews are running four pieces of equipment as they continue to clear sand from the roadway. They have made enough progress to open lane to traffic; both lanes are expected to be open tomorrow. The Hatteras – Ocracoke ferry resumed operation at 1 p.m. today.
The department is working with other state and federal agencies, as well as contractors, to determine next steps and a timeline for repairs. Initial estimates are that the most extensive damage, at Rodanthe and Kitty Hawk, could take several weeks to repair; however, the department will have a more specific time estimate over the next several days as more information is known.
NCDOT reminds residents and visitors in these areas not to drive through standing water. Just one foot of water can float many vehicles. If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and find another, safer route.
The department urges motorists to “know before you go” about travel conditions in eastern North Carolina. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter/.