New Task Force to tackle NC12 ‘hot spots’

By on June 9, 2021

With the first meeting of the NC12 Task Force held on May 19, the initial steps toward developing a long-range plan to address concerns about the often-perilous state of NC12 south of Oregon Inlet were taken.

“The board, the Park Service and the community and NCDOT…understand that we have problems with NC 12, and most of our problems occur, south of Oregon [Inlet] and…on Ocracoke Island,” said Dare County Manager and Task Force Member Bobby Outten in an interview with the Voice. “The road closes when we have storms [and] there are hot spots that everybody knows about…that are the next place where we’re going to have issues when the wind and the storms come from a certain direction.”

The task force, chaired by Bob Woodard, Chairman of the Dare County Commissioners, includes Outten; Hyde County Commissioner for Ocracoke Randal Mathews; Hyde County Manager Kris Cahoon Noble, as well as representatives from NCDOT, US Fish & Wildlife, the National Park Service and Cape Hatteras Electric Co-op.

For his part, Woodard stressed that the task force will focus on planning and how areas of concern about NC 12 on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands can be addressed over an extended period of time.

“One of the things I want to accomplish with this task force is a long-term plan,” Woodard said. And while he added that the goal of the task force is to create a plan that would be a catalyst for action, the task force itself is not going to get involved in those projects.

The opening meeting of the task force focused on creating a subcommittee, chaired by Outten, to examine how to move forward.

The makeup of the subcommittee will include representatives from the Southern Environmental Law Center, NC Division of Coastal Management (CAMA), the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Corps of Engineers and a number of other state and federal agencies. Within the task force committee, Sterling Baker, NCDOT, Division 1 Engineer, will address highway and ferry issues.

The subcommittee represents a diverse range of groups and organizations, organizations that are often seen as at odds with one another over the best way to address transportation concerns on the Outer Bankssomething Outten acknowledges.

“We’ve got to deal with the issues that people look at this differently than we might,” he said. “You may as well have the conversation in the beginning and understand what your issues are so that you can address them, and then hopefully you can come to consensus and resolve the problem.”

With the first subcommittee meeting scheduled on June 16, Outten outlined a short lifespan for the NC 12 Task Force.

“I believe what has to come back in the next [task force] meeting is getting their comments, hearing their concerns, hearing their issues,” he said. “Then the third meeting, set the priorities. I don’t see this going on for a year. Three meetings or four meetings should be enough to accomplish our goal,” he said.





  • Sean Mulligan

    For some reason that makes no sense they landed the bridge to close to the old landing.On the High rise going South where it turns to the East it should have gone straight and connected to HWY 12 a mile or more South of where it currently connects.As a result of where it lands the beach is now to narrow for the birds and the turtles to nest for at least a mile.Over two decades of lawsuits and this is the result.Constantly removing sand from HWY 12.What they need to do is fix the problem and not waste anymore money studying the problem.The road needs to be moved to the west.That is the direction the Island is slowly moving.

    Wednesday, Jun 9 @ 4:10 pm
  • Bud

    There is no ROW, right of way, available to move the road west. It is already as far as the ROW allows.

    We all know one thing, dune lines both cause and increase erosion. Proven time and time again anywhere you look around here. Was also proven by the ACOE, Army Corps.
    Overwash is necessary and vital for the survival of this island. It builds width and elevation. Dune lines strangulate the island.

    Overwash is essential! But folks are inconvenienced for a day or two when it happens so they think overwash is some bad thing. Just give it a day or two and all will be well.

    Thursday, Jun 10 @ 6:45 am
  • Stan Clough

    Maintaining the stability of our Outer Banks Statewide is a necessity. Nature can not be controlled but can be managed, coastlines engineered to work with nature for the benefit of all. We have a unique area and situation.

    Thursday, Jun 10 @ 7:45 am
  • Rick Shaftan

    This group contains no one from Hatteras Island. But they will tell us what is good for us, just as they renamed our bridge to satisfy one of Roy Cooper’s political hack cronies. As usual, there is no input from the people who will live under their rules. Hatteras Island needs to split from Dare and become our own county. With the insane share of county tax revenues we provide, the island deserves more respect than the zero it currently gets from the BOC.

    Thursday, Jun 10 @ 10:14 am
  • tom aschmoneit

    As long as Southern Environmental Law is involved you know more land is going to be taken away from people.

    Thursday, Jun 10 @ 2:01 pm
  • Zack Bass

    Stabilizing a migrating Barrier Island is not possible. Just South of the Basnight Bridge the road is on the beach. Nature will make the situation a moot point some day. We’ll have bridges that will be connected to nothing. It’s a thin strip of sand.

    Thursday, Jun 10 @ 4:25 pm
  • Mark A Williamson

    The stabilization, (terminal groin), to save the north end of pea island, to save the old bridge, has caused the reduction of sand to flow south. Just look at Google Earth. All that sand is GOING INSIDE Oregon Inlet, not flowing south. The Buxton HOTSPOT has been a problem since the 60’s.

    Friday, Jun 11 @ 12:51 am
  • Bud

    These ‘hot spots’ are historical outlets, also referred to as inlets. These cuts open during heavy surge events. Necessary and vital.
    It’s like they want the island to erode away in the name of stabilization.

    Friday, Jun 11 @ 5:38 am
  • Ghost Crab

    Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result “. I guess there’s some truth in that.

    Friday, Jun 11 @ 9:55 am