RODANTHE, NC (WAVY) - As NCDOT works for a permanent solution to NC-12, Hatteras Island residents say the highway's constant overwash problem is a nuisance.
For the past week or so, residents have waited in their cars for hours to cross Highway 12 and the North Carolina Department of Transportation has been closing it down during the evenings for high tide flooding.
Tuesday, the road was open for only seven hours in one direction. According to NCDOT, it takes about 25 minutes to cross from the Oregon Inlet Bridge to Rodanthe.
"It's ridiculous," Hatteras resident Clifton Parker said. "This may well be the most unsafe road in the Western Hemisphere."
"They've been plowing sand now for years and years," Outer Banks resident Joel Sproat said. "Every time they plow it away, the next storm comes in and the same thing happens again."
The road becomes covered with sand and water following storms and flooding and roadwork has become far too common.
"It's extremely concerning," Rodanthe resident Larry Ogden said. "Everything I own is on this island. I have two homes down here. I rent one and I live in one. Everything I have is here is going to go. I'm going to have beach front very shortly."
Tuesday, residents meet with NCDOT officials in an effort to seek permanent solutions citizens would agree with.
"We're trying to think outside the box," Beth Smyre with NCDOT said. "Are there other things we can do so we are not just rebuilding the same dunes over and over again?"
NCDOT officials said by the end of the year, construction on two new bridges will have started.
One is a $98 million Bonner Bridge replacement and the other is a permanent structure over the new inlet created by Hurricane Irene on Pea Island.
"They need to build a bridge," Ogden said. "We got to be able to get through across that new inlet. There is no question about that, but the immediate concern is the Mirlo Beach area and saving the beaches here. We're going to be losing house after house after house."
There is a bridge in the works to go over the road at Mirlo Beach and into Rodanthe, but no one knows when construction will begin.
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