BUXTON — Officials in Dare County are planning to expand the shoreline at Buxton in hopes it will keep hurricanes and winter storms from eating away at N.C. 12.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports the county agreed to expand 2 miles of receding shoreline at the north end of Buxton, not far from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Coastal Science and Engineering of South Carolina will head the nearly $20 million project.
A report by the engineers says a beach that will be 250 feet wider is expected to prevent N.C. 12 from washing out for at least five years.
Also, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Army Corps of Engineers are rebuilding a 2-mile stretch north of Rodanthe to protect the highway. The $20.3 million project is about half finished.
The surf has repeatedly breached N.C. 12, buckling the pavement and closing the only land route between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
Road closures severely hurt the tourism industry, said John Hooper, owner of the Lighthouse View Motel.
“This is something we have to do on Hatteras Island,” Hooper said. “We are very vulnerable here in north Buxton.”
Eventually, highway engineers plan to build bridges over weak spots along Hatteras Island where the surf consistently cuts N.C. 12. A new bridge is going over an inlet created three years ago by Hurricane Irene. The Rodanthe beach nourishment is temporary until another new span is built there.
The state is proposing a bridge for Buxton, but that could take years to get approved, funded and built.