Shooting The Breeze


Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!




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Is a Roundabout Coming to Hatteras Island?

Friday 28 April 2017 at 5:04 pm


An April 27 open house hosted by the NCDOT and the entities building the North Rodanthe bridge posed an interesting question to locals who stopped by the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center – ‘Are you ready for a roundabout?’

The open house, (which is traditionally standard NCDOT procedure when a design change is made to an upcoming project like the Rodanthe bridge), was held to introduce residents to this new element of the upcoming 2.4-mile long structure, and to obtain feedback on its inclusion.

Now, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a “roundabout” is also called a rotary, a traffic circle, or a traffic island, depending on what corner of the world you’re from. If you need a mental image, and you’ve seen National Lampoon’s European Vacation – (and who hasn’t?) – it’s that circular on-ramp / off-ramp that the Griswolds get stuck on for a few hours while Clark Griswold continually yells “Hey look kids, it’s Big Ben!” every time they pass Parliament.

Essentially, the roundabout that is being planned for the southern terminus of the north Rodanthe bridge will have just one lane, (not three or four like its London counterpart), and four “exits” for travelers. Once on the roundabout, vehicles can exit on the southern Highway 12, northern Highway 12, the north Rodanthe bridge itself, or Midgett’s Campground, which would be otherwise inaccessible without the exit. The planned roundabout has a roughly 250 ft. diameter, and will be located directly near the southern entrance of the bridge, next to America Drive in Rodanthe.

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Update on the Connecting Channel – and Some Highly Anticipated Good News

Friday 14 April 2017 at 01:02 am


It’s an announcement that many island residents have been looking forward to for a very long time - The signed MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) required to dredge the Connecting Channel is in hand, and work is slated to begin around the third week in April.

It’s also an announcement that’s been a long time in the making.

From the initial scoping meeting on August 13, 2016, until word was received at roughly 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, that the MOA was ready, islanders have been waiting with increased itchiness and anticipation to address a Hatteras Inlet problem that has steadily been getting worse.

As of Wednesday afternoon – (just 24 hours or so after word was received that the project could move forward) – reports came in that there were three boats in Hatteras Inlet that could not return home because the tide was too low to travel.

So the fact that the dredging can finally commence isn’t just good news, it’s instrumental to the local Hatteras village community where livelihoods depend on access to the water.

And considering that the summer of 2016 saw a number of cancellations for fishing charters and marinas in Hatteras village, (as rumors spread that boats couldn’t get out of the inlet), the dredging project is more important than ever.

“People are canceling trips right now. Captains are taking their boats to other marinas – like Ocracoke Island and Oregon Inlet - and running trips out of there, and visitors are canceling reservations at our Hatteras village marinas,” says Steve “Creature” Coulter, local Hatteras captain and board member of the Dare County Waterways Commission. “So it’s important that we get the work done, and get the information out there to the general public that we are getting the work done, and to come here in the summer and enjoy what we have to offer.”

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The Long And Tortured Road To Reach The North Rodanthe Bridge Option

Friday 07 April 2017 at 11:24 pm


For folks who’ve been around long enough, the ongoing lawsuit against the proposed north Rodanthe bridge might be just another frustrating chapter in the decades-long struggle to keep Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands’ only highway passable.
Back in the late 1990s, a mothballed N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) panel that had earlier studied the myriad transportation challenges on N.C. 12 was revived and renamed the Outer Banks Task Force. Its mission was to address persistent erosion and other road problems with a cooperative, multi-agency approach. Over the years, the task force spent a lot of time talking about “hot spots,” first identifying them, then, in meeting after meeting, trying to figure out what to do about them and how to get the money.
Funds kept disappearing in budgets. Studies would languish. Lawsuits were filed. Storms kept coming, making it even more urgent to fix the hot spots.
By now, we all know them: The canal zone south of the bridge, the old sandbag area on Pea Island, S-Curves north of Rodanthe, North Buxton, Hatteras village north of Elizabeth Avenue and on Ocracoke, stretching four miles south of the Hatteras ferry docks.
Two decades after the first revived task force meeting was held, the panel has since been absorbed into the N.C. 12 project merger team. A lawsuit against DOT from environmental groups has been settled, and the new Bonner Bridge is finally under construction. Beach nourishment is being planned in Buxton. And finally, there are plans underway to construct a $150 million bridge that would bypass troublesome S-Curves.

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