Pea Island now open to four-wheel drive vehicles

Posted at 2:22 PM, Nov 10, 2012

RALEIGH – Four-wheel drive vehicles are now traveling allowed on N.C. 12 on Pea Island after N.C. Department of Transportation crews opened an emergency access route for them, starting at noon on Saturday.

The route is open from 5am until 10pm until further notice.

This marks the first time NCDOT has opened the highway to residents and visitors since damage from Hurricane Sandy forced the closure of N.C. 12 from south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe on Oct. 28.

4-wheel-drive vehicles to gain access to Hatteras Island

Photos: Damage along NC 12 in Dare County

The route offers one lane in each direction, except at the temporary bridge and the Bonner Bridge, where it narrows to a single lane for vehicles traveling in both directions. The department placed temporary traffic signals at each bridge to regulate traffic flow safely. For a more detailed look at the route, view this interactive map:

Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles should expect a rough ride, which will include traveling over sand, damaged pavement and some water. On the sandy portions of the access route, motorists should follow makeshift lane markers comprised of barrels, cones and flags connected with orange protective fencing.

NCDOT asks motorists using the route to follow these important safety measures:

  • Only drive four-wheel drive vehicles with a high ground clearance should use the route. Cross-over four-wheel drive vehicles that are lower to the ground may get stuck in the rugged terrain;
  • If you drive at night, use extreme caution. There will be no lights staged along the route, so your vehicle’s headlights will offer the only way for you to see;
  • Drive slowly; and
  • Pay close attention to the temporary traffic signals.

Although N.C. 12 is open to four-wheel drive access, repair work on the highway continues in Kitty Hawk, the Bonner Bridge and across Pea Island. Heavy equipment and crews will work during daylight hours to fix the damaged pavement, move sand off the highway and reconstruct dunes. NCDOT urges motorists to be aware that are traveling through an active work zone and use caution to ensure that they, as well as construction crews, remain safe.

The department urges motorists to “know before you go” about traffic conditions along the Outer Banks. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit or follow NCDOT on Twitter at