Hatteras Island

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Local governments on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands say they want to come to an agreement on reimbursements for a recent power outage without going to court.  

No surf boards were rented from Jason Heilig's Rodanthe Surf Shop. On a typical July day, Heilig would hope to see that cart totally empty.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Carloads of tourists rolled in, stores stocked seafood counters and kitchen workers chopped vegetables Friday as two North Carolina islands reopened to visitors after a weeklong power outage at the height of vacation season.

Crews worked to reconnect power cables.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Power has been restored to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. Utility crews with Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative and its contractors completed work earlier Thursday afternoon.

NASA images captured the power outages along Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands last week.
NASA Earth Observatory

A NASA satellite captured nighttime images of two popular Outer Banks barrier islands that have been without power for nearly a week.

Crews worked to reconnect power cables.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Power should be fully restored on all of North Carolina's Outer Banks in less than a week, officials said late Tuesday.

Crews working at the site of the damaged transmission line
Courtesy of the NC Dot

UPDATE: Officials now estimate between six and 10 days for power to be fully restored for Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Governor Roy Cooper ordered a mandatory evacuation of tourists on the islands after a contractor sliced through a line carrying electricity from mainland Dare County late last week. The islands are now running on alternative backup generators, but residents are being advised to reduce their electricity consumption. 

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Lawsuits are pending against a construction company blamed for a power outage on North Carolina's Outer Banks, forcing visitors off the beaches and leaving tourist-dependent businesses without income.

Jason Heilig stands in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island, which he owns. He normally counts on the busy season for a big chunk of annual revenue.
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

Jason Heilig stood in the doorway of Rodanthe Surf Shop on Hatteras Island on Monday.

No customers picked through the board shorts or tried on sunglasses. The trailer of surfboard rentals sat filled to the top. For a normal midday in late July, Heilig would like to see those reversed: an empty trailer and full shop.

Oregon Inlet
Courtesy of the NC DOT

The latest on efforts to restore electricity to a portion of North Carolina's Outer Banks evacuated of tourists after a construction accident cut power lines (all times local).

Crews continued to work on the Bonner Bridge project.
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative

Construction crews have determined that all three transmission cables providing power to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands have been compromised, but portable generators may allow visitors to return soon. 

An image of Herbert C. Bonner Bridge
Smkybear / Wikimedia Commons

The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge is old— 52 years old, to be exact. Since 1963, the aging Bonner Bridge has connected the Oregon Inlet to Rodanthe in Dare Co. and served as a link from Hatteras Island to the mainland. After years of repairs and legal tangles, the bridge is now being replaced by a new parallel bridge.

NCDOT

A new, longer ferry route between Hatteras and Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks is now permanent. 

Officials from the U.S. Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Department of Transportation made the announcement Monday. 

Tim Hass of the state Ferry Division says the original shorter route continues to be a problem.

Morning on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Outer Banks Real Estate / Flickr Creative Commons

A provision in the proposed budget deal would allow the governor to bypass environmental reviews for road projects along the coast.

It indicates that during a state of emergency, the governor could issue an executive order to waive the required environmental permits to replace state highways along the Atlantic.

The provision is said to be a recourse for municipalities whose sole access to the mainland is a state highway.

Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar
Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar

Hurricane Arthur is continuing its path toward North Carolina's Outer Banks. Residents on Hatteras Island are under a mandatory evacuation order. But many other residents and business operators in Dare County are taking a wait-and-see approach to the storm.   Karen Overbey is a manager at the aptly-named Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar in Kill Devil Hills.  She says the hurricane hasn't driven their customers away so far.

An illustration of Hurricane Arthur's projected path.
National Weather Service

Category one Hurricane Arthur has maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

Hatteras Island residents have begun a mandatory evacuation this morning, and a State of Emergency has been issued for all of Dare County. Hyde County has issued a voluntary evacuation for Ocracoke Island for 2 p.m. today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Lara Pagano said North Carolinians can expect to feel the effects of the hurricane's outer bands today.

The Bonner Bridge connects Bodie and Hatteras Islands on the Outer Banks
ncdot.org

A federal judge has issued a ruling partially clearing the way for a new span to replace the Bonner Bridge along the Outer Banks

Activists represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center claim building a new bridge parallel to the existing bridge that links Hatteras Island and the mainland would harm coastal wildlife habitats. They want a longer, more costly bridge further out in Pamlico Sound.

Car loads onto the M/V Stanford White ferry  at the Stumpy Point Ferry Terminal Thursday. DOT workers and contractors successfully tested new ramps at both Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, which serves as an emergency ferry route after major storms cut road acc
NC DOT

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.”

Lighthouse
Courtesy of Outer Banks Visitors Bureau

Backers of maintaining NC 12 along the Outer Banks have a new study to bolster their case.  NC 12 has seen its share of damage as storms shift the sand.  And the price tag to fix the problem could cost millions, if not billions.

Lee Nettles is the Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.  He says the public and the legislature need to know the economic value of Hatteras Island.

A map of the channel depths shows how sand moved back into the original channel over the course of a month.
NCDOT / Facebook

The state DOT says Hatteras Inlet remains impassible in some areas as ferries prepare to switch to a busier summer schedule. 

A series of storms clogged the channel between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands this winter, forcing crews to clear a longer detour.  A dredge has been clearing the original route, but officials say a boat bottomed out during a trial run last week.

"It's hard to say what's causing the changes there," says Jed Dixon, deputy director of the NC Ferry Division.

NCDOT

Ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands could resume as early as this week with an alternate route.  The state Department of Transportation says surveyors have identified a longer channel that could allow ferries to pass.  Service has been spotty or suspended since Hurricane Sandy and two nor'easters made the normal route impassible during low tides.  DOT spokesman Steve Abbott says the agency hopes to reopen the route quickly to let traffic flow to an area that relies heavily on tourism from Spring to Fall.

The North Carolina Ferry Division says service remains spotty between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
NCDOT

The North Carolina Ferry Division says service remains spotty between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. State transportation officials have been suspending service on a daily basis since a series of storms in November. Ferry Division spokeswoman Lucy Wallace says the channel routinely experiences shallow waters after high winds and heavy rain:

Hurricane damaged Highway 12 on Hatteras Island is the subject of two public workshops this week. The only road along parts of the Outer Banks was breached in several places by Hurricane Irene in August. Traffic is rolling again on temporary fixes, but state officials want to move forward with permanent repairs. Greer Beatty works for North Carolina's Department of Transportation.

Residents of Hatteras Island will be allowed to return home today.

State officials plan to install a temporary bridge on Hatteras Island's North Carolina Highway 12. Hurricane Irene caused a number of breaches along the road, and the structure will be erected across the largest such impasse. Greer Beatty is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Greer Beatty: "We're bringing in a temporary bridge, we've already ordered it. It's being shipped right now in trucks, it'll take about 35 truckloads to get all of it here, and we'll get it assembled and put it into place."

US Senator Kay Hagan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Governor Bev Perdue
hagan.senate.gov

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands remain cut off from the mainland after Hurricane Irene dumped water and sand on several parts of Highway 12. There are several breaches in the highway just north of Rodanthe. Governor Bev Perdue says officials are doing all they can.

A subsidized housing facility for teachers opens on Hatteras Island today in an effort to lure talent to Dare County schools. The Dare Education Foundation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon in Buxton for a building with 12 reduced-rent apartments. The island has two public schools with a total of nearly 600 students. Dare Education Foundation executive director Elizabeth Piff says teachers on Hatteras Island have a hard time finding housing they can afford. As a result, a given class can sometimes have four different teachers in the course of one school year.