Transportation
7:51 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Clogged Inlet Boosts Cost Of Running NC Ferry

Credit NCDOT

With the ferry trip to Ocracoke Island now taking a little bit longer, it's also become more expensive to operate.

Boats are taking an alternate route that tacks on three miles and 30 minutes to the trip. It will also cost the state Department of Transportation more than an additional $1 million each year.

Tim Haas of the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division says the state has applied for a permit that would allow for a wide ferry channel.

"The way that Hatteras inlet has opened up, a 100-foot wide channel is not sustainable," he says.

"What we’re hoping is that we can get approval to make the channel wider. If we can make it, say, 200 feet, then if there is a little bit of shoaling, say from 200 feet to 150 feet, we’ve still got room."

Ocracoke is already the most remote part of the state. Boat and plane are the only ways to get there. Over the last decade, a significant amount of shoaling has pushed sand into the ferry route from Hatteras.  The new route will be used at least into the fall.