DARE COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina Department of Transportation officials said that crews worked around the clock Monday, trying to clear water and sand off of NC-12 after a nor’easter hit over the weekend.
NC-12 is closed between the Marc Basnight Bridge and Rodanthe,
NCDOT spokesperson Jamie Kritzer said it’ll take some time until the road is open again.
“The North Carolina Department of Transportation has had crews out all weekend working to keep the roads cleared of that sand. But you’re kind of fighting a difficult battle there because mother nature controls all and she’s not done yet,” said Kritzer.
Police officers parked at the Oregon Inlet to make sure no one crossed the bridge.
Because of the closure, locals and tourists are stuck on either side until officials open it back up.
Local Lauren Peele said you always have to plan for a closure.
“Call your relator before you come down here because if you were renting a house in Hatteras or something like that, you need to know that you may not be able to get back,” said Peele.
It will reopen when state transportation officials determine it is safe.
NCDOT said there is no structural damage to the highway but parts of it are covered with sand and overwash.
Peele said that sand and water are always a problem for NC-12.
“Sand has crossed that road since the beginning of time,” said Peele.
Nags Head local Dave Charlton said most people are used to NC-12 being closed in the storm.
“Every time we get a big storm here, the surf will blow in and blow the sand over the road and the water will come in, it’s impassable,” said Charlton.
Charlton said NC-12 getting closed makes things difficult for everyone in the area.
“People have jobs to get to and that’s a big problem. It’s also a big problem because there are tourists that want to stay at their vacation homes, stuck down there and they can’t get out,” said Charlton.
In Nags Head, Andreas Etheridge walked onto the beach to watch the waves ahead of the storm.
Etheridge said he was worried conditions would become worse through the weekend as the storm passed through.
"The flooding is what we're worried about, not really the wind, cause, we're used to the wind," said Etheridge. "My house flooded back in 2011... I just hope it doesn't flood."
Others, like Kyle Creef said that they felt safe in Nags Head ahead of the storm.
“We’ve got real structurally sound houses. There’s no place I’d rather be around here. My driveway is eleven feet above sea level and we don’t have to worry about tide,” said Creef.
The winds didn't only affect the storm surge. In some areas, it knocked out the power.
“I think it’s spotty, I know mine kept flipping off and on in Manteo last night. The pole was broken up right at what they call the little bridge, and the crew was out there working,” said Peele.
Kritzer said there is no set date for when NC-12 will re-open because waves are still coming over sand dunes causing dangerous conditions.
“We have to wait and the water will need to recede before we can go in and make an assessment of the road and see if there was any damage and see what we might need to do to make the road safe for travel again,” Kritzer explained.
To track which roads are closing in the Outer Banks, click here.