After looking at data, Southern Shores adjusts weekend traffic plan

By on July 16, 2021

(Town of Southern Shores)

(Photo credit: Kip Tabb/file photo)

In a continuing effort to curb summer cut-thru traffic in residential neighborhoods, the Town of Southern Shores announced in a July 15 Facebook post that it will make some additional adjustments to mitigation measures this weekend.

While the no-left-turn prohibition at the corner of S. Dogwood and U.S. 158 will remain in place on the weekends through August 15, the town will not close Hickory Trail or chain off the median at key intersections along E. Dogwood Trail on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18.

The announcement comes after the town closed both the E. Dogwood Trail median and Hickory Trail on July 10, a move that proved to have mixed results

“Clearly any steps we take to re-route the cut-through traffic results in varying impacts to different parts of town,” the post read. “The Town Council has been cautious and deliberate in trying to minimize these impacts.

“Local traffic only” barricades will remain in place on East Dogwood Trail for traffic going north on Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail and Wax Myrtle Trail as well as on Hickory Trail for traffic going north on Hillcrest, Sea Oats and Wax Myrtle. Similar signs will be erected on Hillcrest Trail for traffic going north on Sea Oats.

The municipality is expected to continue working with travel apps such as WAZE and Mapquest to mark key roads as closed.

The post also compared some traffic count data gathered on Saturday, July 10 – when the E. Dogwood Trail median was closed – and Saturday, June 26, when there was no closure. The number of vehicles that passed through town on those two days represented a slight difference of 93. On average, more than 11,000 vehicles pass through Southern Shores on Saturdays and Sundays during the prime tourist season.

According to the data, Hickory Trail saw a 149 percent increase in the number of vehicles on July 10 with the closure compared to June 26. Similarly, Wax Myrtle experienced a 143 percent increase. Meanwhile, Sea Oats Trail and Hillcrest Drive each saw between 30 and 35 percent fewer vehicles.

As a result of the data collected, the post concluded, “The negative impacts taken from the traffic data indicate that those on Wax Myrtle Trail and Hickory Trail received a negative impact disproportionate to the benefits of those on Sea Oats Trail and Hillcrest Drive.

While it may be worth exploring this option further and implementing it in some manner in the future, there is currently no plan to continue the median closures along E. Dogwood Trail or closing off Hickory Trail at either E. Dogwood Trail or Hickory Drive at this time.”

Additionally, Trinitie Trail saw a 25 percent increase in vehicles on July 10 compared to June 26.

“Our goal in implementing any change to the traffic patterns is to keep vehicles that are vacationing north of us on NC 12…We welcome all our visitors to the Outer Banks, but also want to limit the negative impacts on our residential streets,” according to the post.





  • Travis

    Maybe if they tore out a section of Dogwood Trail in Southern Shores that connects 158 with NC12 and turned it into a dead end they could finally discourage this tourist caravan from migrating through town. I mean, it’ll be inconvenient for the other 36 weeks of the year when the migration isn’t an issue, but all this 1st world bellyaching is getting a bit old and I’m for whatever gets the job done at this point.

    Friday, Jul 16 @ 8:11 pm
  • Idiot Savant

    The only real solution is so obvious that its painful to watch this mass year after year.
    License every rental home and delegate a turnover day and use every day of the week. Rotate the day year over year so no one feels slighted even though it really doesn’t make a difference like it would of 20 years ago. The success of VBRO and AirBNB prove that point. Charge a license fee to manage it. It would need to be at the county level vs the towns to pull it off
    Its going to happen eventually as public safety is way to compromised like it is now. As soon as someone like a Senator or some celebrity has a family member die because it took way too long for first responders to get there and it will happen. Why wait for the tragedy to happen?
    The benefits are too may to list. Traffic – greatly improved everywhere. Crowd management at tourist attractions and restaurants – way more manageable and profitable. Rental house cleaning can now be a real business opportunity vs the weekend hustle it is now. Frankly I can’t believe this alone hasn’t driven the market to adopt this path. I have no idea how they get them all clean in three days. The pool cleaning business would benefit greatly as well as would just about any business on the beach that caters to tourists.
    Anything else is just playing Whack a Mole

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 8:58 am
  • C A

    Like pouring water through a colander, any crack, any opening and they’re zipping through. It’s an incredible denigration to a once beautiful place to live.

    Raised my children there in the early 80’s, lived there until 2014 as empty nesters. Couldn’t imagine trying to raise young children there these days with the tourists ripping through at 45 mph down S. Dogwood, Hillcrest, Sea Oats, and Wax Myrtle.

    We moved to another part of the Outer Banks, and thankfully do not have that problem any longer. Now we can get to the grocery store easily during peak season, and get back home as quickly.

    Quality of life issue for sure.

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 9:03 am
  • Obxer

    Mid currituck bridge…. build it

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 9:18 am
  • John VanderMyde

    The problem is that each time you reduce the traffic on a route, it makes that route much more attractive, so people will go to further extremes to take it.

    I think they need to use crossing guards in Duck on Weekends or install crossing lights – stopping all traffic every time someone wants to walk across the road has made Duck the real root of the problem.

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 10:47 am
  • Larry

    Do not build the mid Currituck bridge!!!! The bridge will only allow more and more people to pile into our already over crowded community. Believe it or not but this traffic we deal with on the weekends limits the amount of tourist on our beach. There will only be more problems with the Currituck bridge. More pollution, more crowds, more accidents and you know there will be more b****ing.

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 12:09 pm
  • Anna


    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 3:41 pm
  • WindyBill

    Widen NC12….Build It!

    Saturday, Jul 17 @ 5:24 pm
  • John Boy Billy

    Larry, that is not an accurate statement. All rental companies are having a record year with rentals. There has been less than a 1% vacancy rate since Memorial Day going through Labor Day. The traffic is not stopping people from coming.

    Build the bridge.

    Sunday, Jul 18 @ 6:18 am
  • Susie

    Rt 12 can be widened to 4 lanes in almost all areas. It would take a some extra work in some places. A two lane road was never meant to handle the traffic it gets. Widening might also help with them doing some work on the flooding 12 also gets in those areas.

    Sunday, Jul 18 @ 10:55 am
  • Larry

    John Boy Billy, imagine building a bridge to Ocracoke. The amount of visitors would triple due to the easy access. Thats what would happen if we have a mid Currituck bridge built. It’s like putting a split on a water pipe, now you got double the amount of water flow. We don’t need it! People are still on that government payout and still working remotely allowing more to travel than before. Also with last year being such a bummer and travel restrictions still in play. people are traveling with in the U.S. more than ever. It’s not just us that are seeing high numbers of visitors.

    Sunday, Jul 18 @ 12:55 pm
  • Ray

    Have the police direct traffic , especially at lights and notorious “back way “ points , works in other tourist areas and large events to move traffic efficiently , safely , and More rapidly , not adjust the budget accordingly , but with near $10 million in police budget between KH/S Shores / Duck / Corolla it should be easily doable and the simplest solution , even if a new traffic safety officer force or something have to be the majority of the “police force “ and budget .

    Sunday, Jul 18 @ 6:41 pm
  • Disgruntled

    To say that building the bridge will increase the amount of visitors and growth is also saying that not building the bridge is restricting or slowing the growth. Well that’s not working, if only it where true.

    Build the bridge and highway 12 can remain the quaint little road it is, a four lane highway can not avoid the bottleneck in Duck only ruin it’s charm.

    Monday, Jul 19 @ 6:48 am
  • Disgruntled

    Has the Southern Law Group ever specified how the bridge will destroy the environment, I always see the talking points with no details. That would make an interesting story.

    Monday, Jul 19 @ 6:58 am
  • Corolla Home Owner

    People using the new bridge will be residents and visitors staying for the week! The toll of $20+ will deter day trippers from clogging the beaches. The major metropolitan area that is within easy access to OBX is Tidewater and when you combine the bridge toll with the Virginia toll road ($10) – why wouldn’t these people just go to Virginia Beach? The bridge will greatly benefit summertime traffic and save lives if there is an evacuation.

    Right now, fix the traffic (car and pedestrian) in Duck! Get the Duck police force out there early limiting pedestrian crossing and cars exiting key retail areas. Get out of those fancy SUVs that tax dollars paid for and do something!

    Monday, Jul 19 @ 9:43 am
  • Bud

    Mid-Currituck bridge would be the death of Carova, Corolla and Duck are already destroyed.
    Judging by the amount of tourists here, additional bottlenecks are needed.

    Tuesday, Jul 20 @ 7:50 am
  • hightider

    The mid Currituck bridge would make life simpler for me – and several hundred thousand others. And yes, it will destroy Carova. That’s why I drive to Carova in the middle of the night and avoid the traffic. The 4×4 beach is the only place left on the northern OBX that is not ruined. Yet.

    Tuesday, Jul 20 @ 11:37 am
  • Bud

    So why ruin every town and turn it into something OBnoXious like the rest?

    Wednesday, Jul 21 @ 6:54 am
  • C A

    I’ve been here a very long time. Some of my kids still are, they have kids. When the ByPass was just one lane south, and one lane north, and the only light was a blinking yellow where the bad accident was last week in Kitty Hawk, everyone thought we had a problem.

    That was right, we did. We would later create what you all know the ByPass today. It filled right up, more full traffic lights were needed, more stores got built, neighborhoods got built.

    It’s a pretty dangerous road in the warm seasons, and now winter too.

    Widening Rt 12, not widening Rt 12, Mid County Bridge or no Mid County Bridge. People will always be coming to the Outer Banks. No way to stop them.

    Higher tolls will not stop those wanting to come. You’ll perhaps change the social dynamic briefly, and county and state coffers and general funds may puff up a bit but those restricted will find a way to be here.

    Creating an elitists retreat has never been what the Outer Banks has been about. Remember, when the elitists or well to do discovered it, they found it so charming they invested heavily in it.

    Fact is, there is truly no answer. Bottom line is we all need to be as patient as possible, and visitors need to remember to be respectful guests as residents need to be respectful hosts.

    We’re all here because the place was/is pretty cool. Let them do their studies in Raleigh, play the cards as they’re dealt. Trust me, life is short, time is precious.

    Thursday, Jul 22 @ 6:59 pm
  • Disgruntled

    @Corolla Home Owner,
    All good ideas, I would add a express pass at the bridge that would allow commuting workers toll free.

    Friday, Jul 23 @ 6:53 pm