The following is a news release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

Despite the best dredging efforts of the US Army Corps of Engineers, NCDOT's Ferry Division [Friday] announced that the traditional ferry channel in Hatteras Inlet is still not safe enough to use, and that ferries between Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke will continue to operate on the longer "alternate" route.

"We wish we had better news, but after several test runs Thursday it became clear that the traditional route was still not navigable," said NCDOT Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "Safety is always the highest priority of the Ferry Division, and remaining on the longer route is the best way to ensure the safety of our passengers, crews, and boats."

In response to the decision, the Ferry Division is moving a larger boat to the Hatteras Inlet route and will add five additional departures from each side beginning June 17, bringing the total number of runs on each side to 37. The new schedule, starting Tuesday, will be as follows:

Departing Hatteras: 5:15 a.m., 6:15, 7:45, 8:45, 9, 9:15, 10, 10:15, 10:45, 11:15, 11:30, 11:45, 12:30 p.m., 12:45, 1:15, 1:45, 2, 2:15, 3, 3:15, 3:45, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:30, 5:45, 6:15, 6:45, 7, 7:15, 8, 8:15, 8:45, 9:15, 9:30, 10:45, 11:45.

Departing Ocracoke South Dock: 5 a.m., 6:30, 7:30, 9, 10, 10:15, 10:30, 11:15, 11:30, noon, 12:30 p.m., 12:45, 1, 1:45, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:15, 3:30, 4:15, 4:30, 5, 5:30, 5:45, 6, 6:45, 7, 7:30, 8, 8:15, 8:30, 9:15, 9:30, 10, 10:30, 10:45, midnight.

Hatteras Inlet ferry service was forced onto a longer "emergency" route December 17, 2013, when continued shoaling in the Inlet made the traditional ferry channel unnavigable. The US Army Corps of Engineers has made several attempts to dredge the channel, but it remains too shallow to use safely. The alternate ferry route is about one hour each way, 20 minutes longer than the traditional route.

The Hatteras Inlet ferry is the most popular of the North Carolina Ferry System's seven routes, carrying about 750,000 passengers each year.