ferry channel impassable following yesterday's storm; Another
departure being added at Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route; residents toll
MANNS HARBOR - Operations at the N.C.
Department of Transportation's Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route are suspended until
further notice. Extremely high winds last night caused the ferry channel at
markers #9 and #10 to shoal over and become impassable.
The Ferry Division has been in contact with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers who will survey the channel as soon as possible.
In the meantime, an extra run is being added to the Swan
Quarter-Ocracoke route starting tomorrow and Ocracoke residents and vendors
carrying necessary goods and commodities will be toll exempt using either the
Swan Quarter or Cedar Island routes. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 19, there will be
a 10 a.m. departure from Ocracoke and a 1 p.m. departure from Swan Quarter, in
addition to the three departures from each side currently being
The schedule will be as follows:
Departing Swan Quarter at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 and 10 p.m.; and
Departing Ocracoke at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The current winter schedule at Cedar Island is:
Departing Cedar Island at 7 a.m., 10 and 4 p.m.; and
Departing Ocracoke at 7:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4.
The extra departures and toll exempt status will continue until the
Hatteras ferry channel resumes operations, just like in previous emergency
situations. The division will monitor traffic and if additional departures are
needed, schedules will be further adjusted.
For the past several weeks, ferry operations have been suspended
daily during low water at the Hatteras-Ocracoke route. Shoaling in the channel
has been an ongoing issue, but Hurricane Sandy, two back-to-back Nor'easters and
several winter wind storms have contributed to the problem. The U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers is working to resolve the situation, as the channel falls under
federal jurisdiction. The USACE has issued a dredging contract to address the
channel shoaling, and work is under way, but several weeks could pass before
dredging alleviates the problem.