Outer Banks

Business & Economy
9:17 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Park Service Hustles To Staff Cape Hatteras Seashore With Lifeguards

Lifeguard funding has been cut for the Cape Hatteras Seashore. Now, the National Park Service is looking for contractors who can help tighten belts while staffing three beaches with lifeguards.
Credit Creative Commons

The National Parks Service is trying to keep at least a few lifeguards on the Cape Hatteras Seashore this summer.

Federal officials cut the $200,000 program that staffed three beaches seven days a week during the summer.

Now, Outer Banks Group Superintendent Barclay Trimble said he wants lifeguard service contractors to offer bids that can accommodate a tighter budget.

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Flood Maps
5:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Have We Been Overestimating Flood Risk On The Outer Banks?

A preliminary projection of what areas will see gains and reductions in base flood elevation.
Credit NC Department of Public Safety

It would be easy to look at the newest round of floodplain maps and think that we've been wrong about the Outer Banks all this time.

For the past decade, the standard line has been that things on the coast are getting worse. Sea levels are rising; the shoreline is eroding; flooding is becoming a bigger threat. Flood risk is largely determined by a series of maps produced by the state of North Carolina. Those maps then make their way to FEMA, who administer the National Flood Insurance Program. Basically, the higher your risk, the more you pay in flood insurance.

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Cape Point
2:40 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Cape Point Closed To Off-Road Vehicles

Cape Point, south of Buxton
Credit Google

One of the most popular sections of the Cape Hatteras seashore is off limits for vehicles for the next few months. The Cape Point area south of Buxton is the migratory home to the piping plover, a nationally- recognized threatened species.

In 2011, the park service implemented a vehicle management plan that requires a 75 foot buffer zone be put up to prevent off-roaders from driving near the birds.

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Sun December 15, 2013

What Made The Wright Brothers' Plane Innovative?

A detail from The Smithsonian animated tour of the Wright's plane. Here is a cross-section of the controls.
Credit Smoithsonian National Air and Space Museum

It's been 110 years this week since the Wright Brothers successfully got their heavier-than-air flying machine off the ground. The "aero-plane" had a number of really cool inventions.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has built a 3D model where you can explore the plane from every angle. Writer Peter Jakab details what made the plane take off. Here's some highlights:

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Developing
10:18 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Bonner Bridge To Close Immediately

Herbert C Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet
Credit jennyk325 via Flickr Creative Commons

Updated 12/4 with video from NCDOT press conference

The N.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns.

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Politics & Government
4:16 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Judge OKs Bonner Bridge Replacement

Aerial view of the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet along the Outer Banks
Credit 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.

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

DOT Tests New Ramps On Emergency Ferry Route

A 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 access to Hatteras Island.
Credit 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.”

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Military
5:00 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Outer Banks To Honor Runaway Slaves

An underground railroad historical marker, like this one from Ohio, will be dedicated at the site.
Credit HystericalMark via Flickr, Creative Commons

A little known part of Civil War history will be honored today on the Outer Banks.  A marker will honor a group of slaves who fled to the area in August, 1861 on their way north to freedom.  About 100 slaves helped Union troops load ships and build fortifications after the capture of forts Hatteras and Clark in return for food and shelter. 

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Politics & Government
8:45 am
Wed July 24, 2013

New Budget Puts Ferry Toll Decisions In Local Hands

One of the ferries in operation along North Carolina's coast
Credit NCDOT

Some eastern North Carolinians are pleased with an aspect of the new state budget proposal.  State legislators have left decisions on whether to charge tolls on some coastal ferry routes in the hands of local transportation planning boards.  

State Department of Transportation officials could only start the process to levy ferry ride charges if the planning boards sent in a written request.  Larry Summers is a town commissioner in Oriental.  Neuse and Pamlico ferries serve many who visit his town.

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Politics & Government
5:38 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

State DOT To Begin Repairs To Bonner Bridge

Bonner Bridge in 2008, before Hurricane
NCDOT

State Transportation Department officials have tapped a Mt. Airy company to make repairs to the Bonner Bridge on Highway 12.  The bridge in Dare County which crosses Oregon Inlet will have steel supports called "crutch bends" added to counteract years of sand erosion, or scour, that have weathered the structure. 

Pablo Hernandez, an engineer with the state DOT, says the last time this type of repair was done was more than 20 years ago.

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