Outer Banks

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.

A scene from a Lost Colony performance.
The Lost Colony

The North Carolina outdoor drama The Lost Colony has been tapped for a 2013 Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.  With 75 seasons under its belt, the yearly production on Roanoke Island began in the summer of 1937 and has continued almost every year since. It is the longest-running symphonic drama in the country. This video shows clips from the play:

Bodie Island Lighthouse
National Park Service

For the first time ever, the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be open for public tours.  The structure was built in 1872 and has been closed for a $5 million renovation for the past four years. Years of exposure to harsh weather had brought on structural and safety problems. Restoration work included repairs to the spiral stairs, brickwork and the lens that still serves as a navigational guide for ships.

Alligator River bridge repairs

The Alligator River Bridge in Tyrrell and Dare counties is once again open to traffic.  The U.S. Highway 64 swing bridge was reopened to traffic late Sunday evening after being closed for the better part of two weeks.  The Alligator River bridge is a major connection between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' pier near Duck, NC.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / www.frf.usace.army.mil

A renewable energy company says it's testing a prototype that could produce energy from ocean waves near the Outer Banks. 

Boston-based Resolute Marine Energy says it tested the equipment for two months off the coast of Duck this winter.  Engineer Cliff Goudey says the device has a large piece of fiberglass that waves back and forth like a barn door.

"It sits out on the bottom offshore just outside the breaking wave zone," Goudey says.

Alligator River Bridge

A major highway in eastern North Carolina will be closed for two weeks while crews work on a bridge to the Outer Banks, adding an hour’s drive for people headed to or from the area. The state DOT says Highway 64 will be closed at the Alligator River drawbridge for two weeks, starting tomorrow.  That means drivers will have to take Highway 264 to the south or Highway 17 to the north to get to Manteo.

Andy Griffith

Less than one year after Andy Griffith’s death, his widow intends to raze the house where he once lived with his family. According to friends, Griffith had hoped the house would be turned into a museum.

Cindi Griffith received a demolition permit from Dare County on Monday. The house that she intends to tear down is not the large one that she and Andy built recently, but a smaller one on Roanoke Island that Andy Griffith bought in the 1950’s.

A vacation home on the Outer Banks after super-storm Sandy.
Don McCullough, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Flood insurance rates are set to go up for people who own property along the North Carolina coast.  Congress approved the rate increase last year after the National Flood Insurance Program had to borrow money to pay damage claims in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Super-storm Sandy. 

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.

Dominion North Carolina Power plans to study the prospect of wind and solar energy on the Outer Banks for small-scale power grids.  The utility is launching a three-year research project at its office in Kitty Hawk. The plans include four wind turbines, solar panels and a storage battery that will work to reduce the amount of power the office pulls from the grid.  Project manager Sarah Cosby says that network creates a so-called micro-grid that could be useful for small communities during power outages.