With calm conditions on their side along N.C. 12 in Dare County, NCDOT crews are now working on a temporary solution to reconnect all traffic on Hatteras Island to points north of Mirlo Beach. This multi-step process includes installing sandbags, reconstructing the dunes, and rebuilding the road near Rodanthe where Hurricane Sandy and a pair of Nor’easters damaged the highway.
Crews are currently placing 15-foot-long sandbags along a 0.4-mile section of N.C. 12 at the S-Curves just north of Rodanthe on Pea Island. In all, crews will place 1,800 new sandbags to create a protective barrier between the ocean and the road. Once the sandbags are in place, crews will rebuild the dunes on top of the sandbags.
At the same time, crews are also removing broken pavement from this section of N.C. 12. After sandbags are installed at the most heavily damaged parts of the highway, crews will begin rebuilding the road where it was located before the series of storms hit. All work is heavily dependent on the weather and tidal conditions.
Weather permitting, Crews hope to open the newly paved lanes of N.C. 12 to all traffic on or by Dec. 25. Until then, four-wheel drive vehicles must continue to pass through checkpoints at the temporary bridge on Pea Island and Mirlo Beach to travel between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
Motorists are reminded that any private vehicle larger than a one-ton truck cannot use the route in order to protect access and allow traffic to flow more efficiently. In addition, private trucks with trailers are not permitted. Two-wheel drive vehicles are not allowed on the route under any circumstance.
Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles should expect a rough ride, which will include traveling over sand, damaged pavement and some water. On the sandy portions of the route, they will follow lane markers comprised of barrels, cones and/or flags.
NCDOT asks motorists to follow these important safety measures on the four-wheel drive access:
· Only drive four-wheel drive vehicles with a high ground clearance. Cross-over four-wheel drive vehicles that are lower to the ground may get stuck in the rugged terrain;
· If you drive at night, use extreme caution. There will are no lights staged along the route, so your vehicle’s headlights will offer the only way for you to see;
· Drive slowly;
· Pay close attention to the temporary traffic signals; and
· All four-wheel drive vehicles are encouraged to lower tire pressure to minimize the chances of becoming stuck.