HATTERAS ISLAND — Residents on the Outer Banks are anxious for repairs to N.C. 12, a road regularly damaged by storms along the coast.
Residents are looking for a quicker fix for the problems than the North Carolina Department of Transportation envisions, the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported.
Officials plan a $98 million bridge to replace two miles of the road in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.
For nearly two years, north winds and high tides have pushed water over the road. When it is closed, the only other way off the island is by ferry, which takes much longer.
Construction could begin this summer if permits are obtained and would take three years.
Cheryl Blankenship of Rodanthe says many residents are frustrated.
"If there is a high tide, I can't get to work," said Blankenship, who runs a business in Nags Head and travels the road almost every day. Her husband works at the Navy bombing range in Dare County.
"This year, if that road goes out again, that's it," she said. "We will have to walk away from our investments."
The Pea island bridge is one of six projects planned along the highway.
Construction is to begin this year on a nearly 3 mile long Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet, at a cost of nearly $216 million.
The state also plans a bridge to replace the road at Mirlo Beach just north of Rodanthe.
Plans are being made for three other projects, in Buxton, Hatteras Village and Ocracoke. Each could include bridges, sand bags and beach nourishment.
State officials have tried to protect the road by building more sand dunes and using sand bags.
Officials say bridges replacing the pavement could last for 50 years.