Outer Banks

Cape Point is south of Buxton, Map

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.

A picture of the Wright Borthers plane
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:

Bonner Bridge
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.

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

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

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.”

An underground railroad marker in Ohio.
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. 


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.


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.

Take Me to the Beach helps people find the right beach in the Outer Banks.
Inductice Ideas LTD

Have you ever visited the North Carolina coast only to have a hard time finding the right public beach access? That’s the situation that Sara Brubaker found herself in when she moved to the Outer Banks three years ago. So Brubaker got in touch with the app development company Inductive Ideas LTD to find a solution to the problem.  The result is a new smartphone app called Take Me to the Beach, a guide to Outer Banks beaches that provides information about public access, beach amenities, lifeguards, and distances from beaches to food and drink.

The Elizabeth II historical ship is a main attraction at Roanoke Island Festival Park.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

The history-themed Roanoke Island Festival Park on the Outer Banks may have an uncertain future. Two years ago, lawmakers passed a bill that stipulated the park be self-supporting by 2015. The bill called for systematic reductions in state funding to the site over the next 4 years. That gradual implementation was overlooked in the budget proposal Governor Pat McCrory submitted this year - and instead slashed all funding. So far this session, the general assembly shows no signs of reinstating it.