In preparation for peak hurricane season, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has tested out two new ramps along its emergency ferry route. The ramps are located at Stumpy Point, on the mainland, and Rodanthe, on the Outer Banks, a route that would allow access to Hatteras Island if Highway 12 were damaged in a storm.
“We hope not to need these ramps anytime soon,” said NC Ferry Division Deputy Director Jed Dixon in a statement. “But if we do, the new ramps will provide the public safer and more reliable access to the emergency route that serves as a lifeline to Hatteras Island after a major storm.”
After Hurricanes Irene and Sandy damaged Highway 12 in 2011 and 2012, the emergency route was used heavily.
The new ramps were installed in the spring and summer of this year and use a hydraulic lift system instead of a chain fall hoist. Other improvements include resistance to corrosion and the ability to draw power from ferries, which could be useful in the event of storm-related power outages. DOT engineers tested the ramps Thursday and say that they met all performance standards. The total cost for the project was $1.78 million.