HATTERAS, N.C. (WAVY) - Officials are considering a beach replenishment project will provide an extra buffer to prevent further overwash and damage to Highway 12.
Access to Hatteras Island through Highway 12 was again closed Thursday, as overwash took over the highway again, banning access by four-wheel drive vehicles.
A two-hour ferry ride is the only way to get to Hatteras Island while officials decide how to deal with the ripped up road that suffered heavy damage from two strong storms this year.
Dare County Manager Bobby Outten says he is putting together numbers, and plans to take his ideas to Washington to do what was done successfully for $38 million in South Nags Head to Hatteras Island - build more beach.
Outten and other city officials are hoping the extra sand will create an extra buffer to Highway 12.
John Wadsworth bought waterfront property on Hatteras weeks before Sandy struck in late October. His home is now condemned.
"When I bought the house, it didn't have water underneath it," Wadsworth said. "I bought the house when the water was 100 feet out, where it should have been."
Erosion has taken its toll on the area. There is no more beach in Mirlo Beach, Rodanthe or Buxton.
For Wadsworth and many others, the only solution is to replenish the beach and pump sand to the shore.
"You've given the storm something to eat by putting on more sand and the storm won't be eating buildings," Wadsworth said. "The other side will say, 'This will cost more money.' Well, we spend money all the time. Let's spend money proactively, lets build the beach and every year put more sand on it."
Fed up with what has become the status quo paired with lawsuits by what Charman of Dare County Board of Commissions Warren Judge calls environmental special interest groups, Dare County has turned to an old idea.
With money in hand, go to Washington, cut through red tape and get funding to pump sand onto the beach.
"We need a lot of beach nourishment in Buxton as well," Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus said. "The Park Service obviously does not own any property here now. There is no beach to own."
Burruss says the National Park Service does not support beach replenishment and says the Southern Environmental Law Center doesn't either.
"We don't need to go through the stalling tactics they have to get things done," Burrus said.
Southern Law Center Senior Attorney Julie Youngman called replenishment a "patchwork solution."
We don't believe the patchwork solution is the best solution for either keeping Hatteras traffic flowing, or the taxpayers, or for the people of Hatteras Island," Youngman said.
Youngman is also referring to a less expensive North Carolina Department of Transportation plan to keep the option of building high dunes, beach nourishment and smaller bridges over newly created inlets like the one built last year.
Burrus has been a loud vocal voice against environmentalists.
"They want to make this a chain of pearls and you have to take a ferry every time you get here," Burrus said.
Stuck in the middle are Homeowners like Wadsworth.
"Everybody's arguing and no one is doing anything," Wadsworth said.
The Board of Commissioners is taking the heat and that is one reason they're going to Washington.
"We want to get beach nourishment going," Burrus said. "We have our money, we want some federal money, we want some state money."
10 On Your Side pressed Youngman to answer whether she will legally challenge efforts putting more sand on the beach.
Youngman did not answer and after a 12-second pause said, "You are asking things outside the scope of my agreement to interview with you and the scope of our legal challenge. I am going to hand up now."
The phone went dead. There were no stated "scopes" for the interview.
Judge points out beach replenishment worked in Nags Head and it can work in Mirlo Beach, Rodanthe and Buxton.
"In Nags Head, they reported no house damage, no one is having to put up steps and they're not having to put up decks," Judge said.
As the two sides duke it out in court, homeowners are looking for more beachfront access.
"This area has been like a red headed step-child," Wadsworth said. "Nobody has done anything and away we go."
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
Officers have responded to a shooting at the Arbor Beach Apartment complex in Portsmouth Monday evening.
A first time program in Hampton Roads is distributing holiday meals to military families.