Parts of NC 12 closed to all traffic due to overnight overwash

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (WAVY) — Parts of North Carolina Highway 12 are closed again Wednesday after the road experienced more overwash.

North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said on Facebook that severe overwash prompted closures Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe and on Ocracoke between the Pony Pens and the Ferry Terminal.

The closures come after NC 12 had reopened from days of overwash and closures.

NCDOT said Tuesday evening no structural damage had been observed, but high tides continued to bring additional sand and water on cleared sections.

“The tides are against us. The weather’s against us but we are working as hard as we can,” said Tim Hass, the public information officer for NCDOT Divison 1.

Hass said Tuesday morning’s high tide brought washed up to five feet of sand back onto the road.

Residents, who were stuck on the island because of the road closure, said water and sand continued to be a problem.

“It’s got no where to go. The Pamlico Sound is full. The ocean is absolutely raging,” said Danny Couch, a Dare County Commissioner.

Couch says they’ve seen a significant amount of property damage on the island and it could just get worse with future storms because of the massive amount of beach that they’re continuing to lose.

He says residents will need to start rethinking how to build smarter to reduce future damage.

“They were having this same conversation when the park was created, with the storms and building on the oceanfront. 50 years from now, we’re going to be having these same conversations,” Couch said.

Couch says residents should start considering to not build rooms on the bottoms of their homes and placement of things like pools and heat pumps because of the closing in shore.

“If you’re going to be out there on the Oceanfront, there’s a freight train called the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re going to be on the railroad track, you’re going to have to be smarter,” he said.

Couch says about 3,400 people live on Hatteras Island permanently.

Kevin Humbrecht is one of them.

He was able to capture the flooding over the weekend.

“I’ve been here through Matthew, Joaquin, and Jose. They were pretty bad but this is just bringing so much water and sand into the town itself,” he said.

Humbrecht, who owns Altitude 12, is using his passion and business to help homeowners, who live out of town.

He’s checking on their property for them.

“We just want to help the homeowners. I get it. You can’t be here. You don’t know what’s going on. Whether it’s a good picture or a bad picture, you just want to know what’s going on,” Humbrecht said.

He’s familiar with dealing with Mother Nature and says others residents are, too.

“In the summertime when you’re sitting on the beach and enjoying the sun and you’re there for the third time in a week, that’s a good side of it. This week is the bad side of it,” he said.

But, Humbrecht is optimistic that residents will be able to bounce back.

“You react. You adjust. The people down here are so resilient down here. They figure out where the issue is and jump on it and get it fixed,” he said.

Couch is also hopeful.

He says says their visitors, the majority of them from Virginia, won’t let Mother Nature deter them from visiting.

“They’re passionate. It’s going to take more than overwash and some damage to stop them. During the outage, we lost a week but we didn’t blink an eye. We clean up and get back to work. We’re very resilient and our visitors are just as resilient. It’s going to take a whole lot of inconvenience to discourage our visitors from coming down here,” Couch said.

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