N.C. 12, the Outer Banks highway that has been closed since being damaged by Hurricane Irene in late August, reopened for traffic late Monday.
The road was closed after Irene blew open a new inlet on the northern end of Hatteras Island and washed out several sections of the road just north of the village of Rodanthe on Aug. 27. Contractors erected a 662-foot steel truss bridge over the new inlet.
The $10 million repair is a temporary fix for N.C. 12. Gov. Bev Perdue said state officials will develop a long-term solution to the frequent storm damage and repair costs for the road that traverses the narrow barrier island.
The N.C. 12 breaches cut off all seven villages of Hatteras Island, with 5,000 residents, from their primary lifeline to the mainland.
An emergency ferry service has been running around the clock between Rodanthe and Stumpy Point on the mainland, but riders often wait in line for several hours. That ferry service ended when N.C. 12 reopened, and ferries serving the neighboring island of Ocracoke return to their regular fall schedule today.
The heavily damaged villages of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo were closed to non-residents until Monday evening. Tourists and other visitors traveling to Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras had been forced to come by ferry via Ocracoke.