OUTER BANKS, N.C. (WAVY) - Outer Banks residents got an early Christmas present this week when the only road on and off Hatteras Island reopened open.
Crews fixed the stretch of Highway 12 a few days early. The original "fix date" was Thanksgiving, but bad weather pushed back that finish date.
The people of Hatteras Island are still dealing with the problems, and the fixes are temporary until the next big storm takes out the road. Remember, the road that will cost more than $2.5 million to fix was just constructed last November for millions more. Tax payer money washed away in the ocean's surf:
Here are the costs to date:
- Cost so far to repair the road: $2.5 million. That cost will go up.
- The cost for the Emergency Ferry $1.5 million.
- The contract to Barnhill Contracting Company $4.2 million.
Hatteras Island reality check number one: Surf's up. Awesome waves. Surfers tell WAVY.com an eight out of a perfect 10. Reality check number two: Over wash still swamping Highway 12. WAVY.com found a trucker who skidded into a ditch filled with the Atlantic Ocean.
"It's not the easiest driving down here, and what they are doing down there is not the solution," Island Convenience Wrecker's Scott Caldwell said.
The road is fixed and looks new. The road looks much different than the buckled road after Hurricane Sandy blew through. The damaged pavement is gone.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has graded the road bed. They've hauled in dozens of dump truck loads of asphalt and are putting down and stacking more than 2,000 huge sandbags to better protect the road work they have done. Even those doing the work are skeptical whether this fix is going to work.
"No, it's not going to help. The answer is a causeway or a bridge," says Dave Hess.
Brian Bassette from Virginia Beach visited the Outer Banks for surfing. He's real skeptical as well.
"How long will the road last? The next Nor'easter, but what they are doing is better than nothing," he said.
Susan Wyche lives on Hatteras Island, but works in Nags Head.
"I work in Nags Head, so I had to go four hours back and forth on the Ferry...it took too long, so I had to move to Nags Head for three weeks," Wyche said. "It is going get washed out again. It is part of living here."
We are finding the philosophy "It's part of living here" isn't working anymore. As WAVY.com reported in November, residents want long term solutions. They want answers not temporary fixes.
"Why do we want to keep spending our tax money replacing a road that is never going to stay? " Frisco resident Renae Gaskins asked. "We need a bridge."
Next week the Dare County Board of Supervisors will be getting back "requests for qualifications" from engineering companies on plans for beach replenishment which is pumping sand to shore to make the beaches bigger to grab hold of the pounding surf, so the pounding surf doesn't hit the Highway 12.
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