RALEIGH — Travelers using the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry route could encounter delays, load weight restrictions and possible suspensions due to extreme shoaling of the Hatteras Inlet channel. Brisk northeast winds, lower than normal tides and the narrow channel situation has created a safety issue that requires constant monitoring by the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division.
The shoaling in the channel began post-Hurricane Irene. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to resolve the problem, as the channel falls under federal jurisdiction.
“Visitors to our area need to be apprised of the situation,” stressed Ferry Director Harold Thomas. He is calling upon local residents, businesses, restaurants, motels and vacation home rental agencies to assist in spreading the word.
Sunday evening, May 6, some visitors had to remain on both sides of the route when operations were suspended due to the unsafe conditions. “Getting people where they need to go safely is our top priority and we want to get the word out that conditions at the inlet can change in an instant,” Thomas said.
Travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter by going to www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry or call the Hatteras terminal at 252-986-2353 for updates.