Citing safety concerns and lack of a deep water in the regular Hatteras Inlet channel, the NCDOT Ferry Division today announced that its ferries on the Hatteras-Ocracoke run will be using the longer “alternate route” until dredging work in the channel is completed.
“Safety is always the top priority of the Ferry Division,” said Division Director Harold Thomas. “Our captains are not comfortable with the current condition of the regular ferry channel, so we are maintaining service by switching to the alternate route and also asking the Army Corps of Engineers to do some dredging work in the channel as soon as possible. Once that work is complete, we will resume running the shorter route.”
The “alternate route” is approximately 13-15 minutes longer than the regular route, so Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries will run on an amended schedule until further notice. The schedule is as follows:
• 5 a.m., 6, 8, 9, 11, Noon, 2 p.m., 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, and midnight.
• 4:30 a.m., 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30, 12:30 p.m., 1:30, 3:30, 4:30, 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 10:30, and 12:30 a.m.
Shoaling in Hatteras Inlet has been a constant concern over the past year, and the Army Corps of Engineers has been regularly dredging the area to keep the channel navigable. The Ferry Division is hoping to return to its regular route in a matter of weeks.