Outer Banks, N.C. – A state of emergency has been declared for NC-12 after coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy have shut down the byway countless times for overwash.
Governor Pat McCrory made the move Tuesday and says it will help the Department of Transportation move forward with a short-term solution to upgrade the coastal roadway. The declaration will help to keep the road open more often, reports CBS 6 sister station WTKR.
The state’s transportation department has nearly $21 million dollars in Hurricane Sandy emergency response funding to pay for beach nourishment. That money will help NDCOT move forward with a short-term solution to protect NC-12. After a three-year period, a permanent roadway should be built.
One solution is to speed up rebuilding the beach along the S-Curves to keep the road open until the long-term solution is in place.
The state and the Army Corps of Engineers hope to start the beach re-nourishment at the S-curves, just north of Mirlo Beach, in mid to late spring. People along the Outer Banks said it’s about time that something’s done to fix the problem on NC-12, and that with beach season just months away, it’s more important than ever.
“It seems like they’re tossing around a lot of ideas they’ve been tossing around for 20 years,” said Briggs McEwan, who owns Lisa’s Pizzeria. “The road affects us greatly. That’s our lifeline for everything–for products, for customers.”
McEwan has owned Lisa’s Pizzeria for 15 years. And every time the road is closed, it affects his business.
“We’re basically a 100% tourism industry, so without the road, we cannot operate,” he said.
He said the beach season makes up about 85% of his business, and that a short term plan is fine but a long term solution is needed.
“Beach re-nourishment elevated bridges – really anything to get down here would help keep a lot of people going,” McEwan said.