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 for the immediate future.
A threat of severe weather when a cold front moves through Tuesday, wind-driven 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 inlet was side-cast dredged back in May to address an immediate need and is slated to be pipeline dredged in several weeks by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Visitors to our area need to be apprised of the situation,” stressed Deputy Ferry Director Jed Dixon. He is calling upon local residents, businesses, restaurants, motels and vacation home rental agencies to assist in spreading the word.
Because of the shoaling issue, the Ferry Division today is running only its smaller Hatteras Class boats, which draw less water and are easier to maneuver in the shallow passage.
For up-to-date status on the situation at Hatteras, travelers can sign-up to receive messages on Twitter by going to http://www.twitter.com/ncdot_ferry or call the Hatteras terminal at 252-986-2353 for updates.