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Shooting The Breeze

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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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Year In Review – the Stories that Grabbed Our Attention in 2018

Sunday 09 December 2018 at 8:40 pm

It’s that time of year again when we carry on Irene’s annual tradition of looking back at the stories that grabbed – and held – our attention in 2018.

2018 could arguably be classified as “The Year of Unfinished Business… And Weather.” Many of our biggest stories this past year were carry-overs from 2017, like the power outage, the bridge projects, and the new passenger ferry, while many others focused on extreme weather. In fact, even as I type this, I am also contemplating the age-old question of “To move, or not to move?” which all of us underinsured locals must ask ourselves when it comes to our vehicles and potential storm surge flooding.

So with that in mind, let’s jump right in and take a quick look at the stories that dominated our headlines over the past year. And let’s start, appropriately enough, with….

Winter Storms

If you needed any indication that 2018 was going to be all about weather, just look at New Year’s Day, when Hatteras Island experienced its first snowfall of the year. 2018 began with a bang, or more accurately, with freezing cold temperatures, ice, snow, soundside flooding, high winds, and a frozen Pamlico Sound with patches of ice that extended for roughly a mile. Cheers!

And this was just during the first two weeks of January, too. As you’ll likely remember, February was one of the mildest months on record, followed by a rough March that saw four different nor’easters, more flooding, more wind, and more cold temperatures. Hot spots along N.C. Highway 12 were regularly inundated with soundside and oceanside flooding, and the phrase “Did you hear there’s another storm coming?” became as commonplace a greeting as “Hello.”

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Protecting N.C. Highway 12 in Hatteras Village and Miles Beyond – What Can Be Done?

Friday 23 November 2018 at 11:10 pm

By JOY CRIST

On Tuesday, November 13, a group of community and government representatives drove through several feet of recently dumped rainwater to meet in Hatteras village and discuss - appropriately enough - how to keep N.C. Highway 12 open for the long haul.

It’s no secret that N.C. Highway 12 has a number of “hot spots,” or sections of the road where storm surge or heavy rains regularly flood the highway, making it difficult to access.

The tri-villages, northern Hatteras, and northern Ocracoke Island have all been inundated with water at some point in the past few months, due to Hurricane Florence, Tropical Storm Michael, and a few non-tropical storms that brought buckets of rain regardless. In fact, one of the most commonly asked questions by locals after the aforementioned events was “Is Highway 12 passable?” and this question seems to be asked more and more, with every passing storm.

But as anyone involved with the push to replace the Bonner Bridge will tell you, (an endeavor that literally went on for about 20 years), fixing Hatteras and Ocracoke Island’s delicate highway isn’t easy. There are a number of figurative roadblocks that prevent us from installing a few bridges, or relocating the road, or doing another round of beach nourishment, and calling it a day.

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Status Report: Checking in on the Islands’ Big Transportation Projects

Thursday 08 November 2018 at 5:59 pm

By JOY CRIST

Almost exactly two and a half years ago, county and state officials gathered at the base of the Bonner Bridge to ceremoniously dip their shovels in the dirt and mark the launch of the new Bonner Bridge project. And my, how much has changed in just a couple of years’ time.

Since the April 16, 2016 Groundbreaking Ceremony, we’ve already completed one component of the three-pronged project – the new Captain Richard Etheridge Bridge on Pea Island. We’ve also started the Jug Handle Bridge north of Rodanthe, and are just a couple of months away from being able to cruise along the new Bonner Bridge, which is in the final stages of construction.

We’re also close to launching the new passenger ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke, the first of its kind for the North Carolina Ferry System, and have already beta-tested the new Ocracoke village tram service in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.

So with so many projects going on at once, (and at drastically varied levels of completion), let’s check in on the islands’ big transportation projects to see what has been accomplished so far, and what’s still left to do.

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