For NC12 Task Force, one big challenge is Ocracoke South Ferry Terminal

By on October 16, 2021

The South Ferry Terminal, the dock for the Hatteras/Ocracoke passenger ferry, is increasingly at risk.

As the NC12 Task Force continues to address how to keep open the only road connecting Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands with the rest of the world, consensus is growing within the group that short-term and temporary fixes will not solve the problem.

At its Oct. 14 meeting in the Dare County Administration building, the working group of the NC12 Task Force subcommittee stakeholders discussed how to address the hotspot between Frisco and Hatteras Village.

The group had come to consensus that a bridge in the sound was going to be needed to bypass the Frisco/Hatteras hotspot and the discussion was focusing on where on the Frisco side it should begin. At the Oct. 14 meeting, National Park Service Superintendent Dave Hallac cautioned against short-term solutions.

“A study had been done showing that the short-term solutions that are put into place…are having long term impact,” Hallac said. “For example, every time you push that dune back up and make it higher, it prevents the overwash from making the island wider, and for making elevation where roads could be higher. So you’re actually exacerbating the problem with a short-term solution.”

The group, however, did not see a way to get to the long-term solutions without stabilizing the shoreline using beach nourishment, and the members agreed that the best way forward at the Frisco/Hatteras hotspot was to stabilize the beach until the long-term solution could be constructed.

“What I’m hearing is that we’re going to look at short-term nourishment to preserve the road. Long-term, we’re going to look at a longer bridge alternative…that extends the bridge from around the bathhouse area into the sound to avoid that whole area,” said Task Force Chair and Dare County Manager Bobby Outten.

Perhaps the most complex issue that the working group will address in its work is the South Ferry Terminal to Ocracoke Village. The South Ferry Terminal is the dock for the Hatteras/Ocracoke Passenger Ferry.

Located on the north end of Ocracoke Island, most of the visitors to Ocracoke arrive through the terminal — but the highway and the terminal are increasingly at risk. Shoaling in Hatteras Inlet has doubled the transit time for ferries, and the terminal itself is endangered.

“The…problem you have is that the physical South dock structure is eroding away extremely quickly to the point where we declared this an emergency,” Hallac said.

Even if the South Terminal can be saved, keeping Ocracoke linked through the South Terminal may not be possible. NC12 between the ferry docks and the village is subject to frequent overwash and damage.

A potential solution, and one that is currently being studied, would move the South Terminal to a location just to the north of the island’s pony pens.

However, moving the terminal would exacerbate the existing problem that the longer ferry runs are negatively impacting Ocracoke’s economy, something Ocracoke representative Bob Chestnut pointed out in his remarks.

“If you have the same number of ferries and your trip is twice as long, you can only carry half as many. So it does…impact the people that come in,” he said.

There are several concepts for the plan, but the most current NCDOT studies were not included in the working group’s information, and the decision was made to table the discussion until the November meeting when the material will be available.





ADVERTISEMENT FOR RE-BID: Barnhill Contracting Company will receive sealed proposals for the Kill Devil Hills – EMS/Fire Facility (EMS-1) project on Wednesday, February 08, 2023 @ 2:00pm for the following packages:

BP 400 – Turnkey Masonry, BP 505 – Light Gauge Metal Trusses, BP 833 – Overhead Doors, BP 925 – Drywall/Framing, BP 2200 – Plumbing, BP 2300 – HVAC, BP 2600 – Electrical

Scopes of work may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager.

Bid Location and Time: Bid opening will be held in the Barnhill Contracting Rocky Mount Main Conference Room: 800 Tiffany Bvld, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Time is as follows: Wednesday, February 08, 2023 at 2:00pm.

Barnhill Contracting Company will receive, open, and read publicly all bids received in person in the training room and listed with the virtual viewing at the link to be posted on Barnhill’s Plan Room.

Bids will not be accepted from bidders that are not pre-qualified. No facsimile or email submissions are permitted. Sealed bids are to be hand delivered to the bid opening location noted above or mailed Sealed Bids can be delivered before 9:00am the day of the bid to the Barnhill Contracting Company Office at 800 Tiffany Blvd., Suite 200 Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Attention “Clint Hardison.”

Bid Documents can be viewed or downloaded through Barnhill’s online Building Division Plan Room (

All Bidders are strongly encouraged to include opportunities for HUB participation wherever possible in their respective Bid submission.  HUB participation is a part of this contract and must comply with all requirements set forth in the Bid Documents.

The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to add pre-qualified bidders. The Construction Manager and Owner reserve the right to reject any and all bids. Should you require additional direction, please call Barnhill Contracting Company, (Clint Hardison – 252-802-0740).

Clint Hardison is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Dare County – Kill Devil Hills EMS #01 / FS #14 – 2 PM Re-Bid Opening

Time: Feb 8, 2023 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 874 0991 8806

One tap mobile

+16465189805,,87409918806# US (New York)

+17866351003,,87409918806# US (Miami)

Dial by your location

+1 646 518 9805 US (New York)

+1 786 635 1003 US (Miami)

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 470 250 9358 US (Atlanta)

+1 213 338 8477 US (Los Angeles)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

Meeting ID: 874 0991 8806

Find your local number:

Join by SIP

Join by H.323 (US West) (US East)

Meeting ID: 874 0991 8806



  • Bob F

    I can’t help thinking that a bridge may be the answer. Has this ever been considered?

    Saturday, Oct 16 @ 7:37 pm
  • Dave F

    No further than it is across Hatteras Inlet why not build a bridge??

    Sunday, Oct 17 @ 8:36 am
  • Blackbeard

    Aye mates!
    Looks like we will probably need a bridge to solve this!

    Sunday, Oct 17 @ 10:16 am
  • Obxer

    You can’t use the longer ferry rides as a excuse for lack of tourism when you couldn’t even get a place to stay there this whole summer. I got lucky on a couple of cancelations and made it. It more like a staffing shortage if anything!!!

    Sunday, Oct 17 @ 9:35 pm
  • Travis

    The future of the Outer Banks economic prosperity lies to the north. As a taxpayer, I’d rather see the state invest in the mid-Currituck bridge than more doomed, slap-and-patch solutions to the insurmountable problems growing down south.

    Monday, Oct 18 @ 10:40 am