UPDATE 12/11: After hearing from Hatteras Island commuters about the need for an additional early evening run on the Emergency Route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe, the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has added a 6:15 p.m. departure from Stumpy Point and an 8:45 departure from Rodanthe beginning Thursday.
Beginning Thursday, December 12, The new schedule for the Emergency Route will be as follows:
Departing from Stumpy Point: 3:30 a.m., 5, 6:30, 8, 9:30, 11, 12:30 p.m., 2, 3:30, 5, 6:15, 9:30, and 11.
Departing from Rodanthe: 1:30 a.m., 6, 7:30, 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30 p.m, 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30, 8:45, and midnight.
After consulting with passengers and officials from Dare and Hyde counties, The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division has established additional runs on its Stumpy Point/Rodanthe and Swan Quarter/Ocracoke routes to help increase access to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands during the closure of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge.
“We are always monitoring traffic flow and consulting with local stakeholders to determine how we can better serve our passengers,” said Ferry Division Deputy Director Jed Dixon. “These additional runs will hopefully alleviate some of the hardships the Bonner Bridge closure has created.”
Beginning immediately, the Ferry Division is adding departures from Stumpy Point at 11 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., and from Rodanthe at midnight and 1:30 a.m. The new schedule for the Emergency Route is now as follows:
- Departing from Stumpy Point: 3:30a.m., 5, 6:30, 8, 9:30, 11, 12:30p.m., 2, 3:30, 5, 9:30, and 11.
- Departing from Rodanthe: 1:30a.m., 6, 7:30, 9, 10:30, noon, 1:30p.m, 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30, and midnight.
In addition, fuel supply trucks will have designated runs on Tuesdays and Fridays from Stumpy Point at 5 a.m. and from Rodanthe at 10:30a.m. and 4:30 p.m. This will allow more deck space for regular vehicles on the other runs.
The Ferry Division is also amending its regular Pamlico Sound schedule, adding another round trip to its Swan Quarter/Ocracoke route beginning Tuesday, December 10, with an additional departure from from Ocracoke at 7p.m. and from Swan Quarter at 10p.m. The new schedule for our regular Pamlico Sound routes will be as follows:
- Departing from Swan Quarter: 10a.m., 1p.m., 4, and 10.
- Departing from Ocracoke: 7a.m., 10, 12:45p.m, and 7.
- Departing from Cedar Island: 7:30a.m, 10, and 4p.m.
- Departing from Ocracoke: 7:30a.m, 1p.m., and 4.
The emergency route was activated Tuesday after NCDOT closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge for safety reasons. The Ferry Division will continue to monitor traffic on the route to determine if any additional runs are needed.
DARE COUNTY, NC-It's hurry up and wait for hundreds of people who use the Bonner Bridge. They're lined up to take the ferry that will take them between Hatteras Island and the mainland.
Amy Edwards Powell posted on the WVEC13 Facebook page, "My husband waited 15 hours and finally got on the ferry. No food, meds, blankets. And no elected officials visiting to bring anything or to check on folks."
The emergency service began Tuesday after the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation closed the bridge for safety reasons.
On his Facebook page, NC Transportation Secretary Bob Tata said, "For the past two weeks, we increased our inspections based upon our findings. We also rehearsed the ferry routes between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe... "
NCDOT said last week that the inlet had scoured out sand around the base of supports at the southern end of the bridge, near Hatteras Island, but daily checks showed the structure was safe.
"We then continued to monitor the conditions of the scour daily until today (Tuesday) when it was determined that it was no longer safe for use and needed to close immediately. Conditions change almost continuously with a situation like this, and we do not want to put the safety of anyone at risk," spokeswoman Jennifer Garifo told WVEC.com.
NCDOT released a scan at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, which shows 9 out of 10 pilings on one section of the Bonner Bridge support that are below the critical 20 feet mark.
Officials say they can’t predict when the bridge will reopen until a contractor can get on site.
By declaring a state of emergency, NCDOT can move quickly to award a contract to repair and fortify the span.
Garifo added that crews are expected to be on site doing additional inspections and scans Wednesday, but because of the length of the bridge and the location of the scour, most people will probably not physically be able to see the crews.
NCDOT says between 1,000 and 2.000 cars travel over the bridge every day this time of year. During the summer months, that number can jump to 10,000 vehicles a day.
For now, drivers will cross on a ferry and won't have to pay the toll. The regular Stumpy Point-Rodanthe schedule will be as follows:
Departing Stumpy Point at 5 a.m., 6:30, 8, 9:30, 11, 12:30p.m., 2, 3:30, 5, & 9:30.
Departing Rodanthe at 6 a.m., 7:30, 9, 10:30, Noon, 1:30p.m, 3, 4:30, 6, & 7:30.
The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge was designed to last 30 years when it was built in 1963, NCDOT officials stated.
Senator Bill Cook (R-1st D.) met with NCDOT officials in Raleigh and said in a press release, “I’m grateful that the NCDOT caught this bridge erosion before a tragedy could have happened."