RODANTHE – A coastal storm again closed the only highway to Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks.
N.C. 12 was closed for about 18 hours from the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe after a nor’easter pushed seawater and sand on to parts of the two-lane highway, the N.C. Department of Transportation said.
The highway reopened around 2 p.m. Sunday after crews inspected it and determined the pavement wasn’t damaged, officials said.
The storm also caused problems on Ocracoke as sand and water washed over the only link to ferries to Hatteras Island, said Hyde County spokeswoman Megan Shaw.
The road was never impassible, but officials were recommending no one try to drive on it for several hours overnight. Emergency officials have told ambulance services to only use helicopters to get anyone who needs medical help off the island, Shaw said Sunday.
The section of N.C. 12 that was closed on Hatteras Island is in the same area where the pavement was torn up by Superstorm Sandy in October. The highway was closed for nearly two months to repair that damage, leaving the island only accessible by air and emergency ferries.
The DOT plans a series of meeting this week to discuss long term solutions. The ocean and sound can been seen from the closed stretch of road, and highway signs in the area warn of over wash. The first meeting will be in Manteo on Monday, with meeting scheduled for Rodanthe on Tuesday and Ocracoke on Wednesday.
The winds were from the same storm that brought 2 feet of snow to parts of the Northeast U.S. on Thursday and Friday.