North Carolina Ferry Division

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.

ferry toll rates
NCDOT

The NC Department of Transportation is holding hearings this week on whether or not to raise the cost of riding the state's ferries (even in places where it's currently free). Here are five things you should know about the plan.

1) Nearly everyone would pay a little more; Some would pay a lot more.

There are four ferry routes at play here. Two of them don't currently charge passengers at all. Under the new structure, rates would go up anywhere from $0.50 to $28, basically everywhere, depending on your route and the size of your vehicle.

Chicamacomico Ferry
NC DOT

A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers has introduced a bill that would allow for sponsorship of ferry lines along the North Carolina coast.

Last year the state’s seven ferry lines ran a deficit of more than $30 million. The ferry system is consistently in the red, and fuel costs are only making it worse. Leaders have discussed raising fares, but a new bill would avoid that by seeking about $4 million in sponsorship from large corporations. Think the Pepsi-Cola line instead of Hatteras-Ocracoke.

A screenshot captured Saturday at Mirlo Beach near Rodanthe shows the surf advancing on Highway 12.
NCDOT / facebook.com

The North Carolina DOT starts a series of public meetings Monday to get feedback about its plans for Highway 12 and new ferry tolls on the Outer Banks. 

The DOT said Monday it would add one departure time to the ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke Island as more over-wash covers Highway 12.  The route faces intermittent closures after last week's winter storm flooded the highway.

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:

Cape Lookout Lighthouse
National Park Service

Ferry Service on the southern end of the Cape Lookout National Seashore will be getting an upgrade. Officials are planning new passenger service to the Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout Lighthouse from either Beaufort or Morehead City. Wouter Kaytel from the National Park Service says the NPS plans to join forces with either of the two communities to streamline services and offer contracts to potential vendors. A public meeting will be held tomorrow night to gather feedback from residents.