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Old stretch of N.C. 12 known as the 'S-Curves' to be returned to OBX wildlife refuge

Pavement and sandbags will be removed from the old stretch of road and the area will be returned to a wildlife refuge.
Credit: NCDOT
A sign on the Old N.C. 12 'S-Curves' is seen almost buried in sand on Sept. 21, 2022, after Hurricane Earl passed offshore.

RODANTHE, N.C. — A former section of an Outer Banks highway that was routinely covered by ocean overwash will be permanently removed and returned to a wildlife refuge, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said.

The two-mile stretch of what was once part of N.C. 12 in Dare County is known as the "S-Curves" and was regularly shut down following weather events like nor'easters, tropical storms, and hurricanes. 

NCDOT said that just in the last month alone, the S-Curves area had been covered in water and sand three times due to Hurricanes Earl, Fiona, and Ian.

The S-Curves were no longer needed for traffic after the opening of the Rodanthe Bridge -- aka the "Jug Handle" Bridge -- earlier this year. The new bridge extends over the Pamlico Sound from the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to the northern end of Rodanthe.

Crews will begin removing pavement and sandbags beginning Monday, October 10, and work is expected to last about six weeks. It will not disrupt traffic on N.C. 12.

Once the removal is complete, the area will be returned to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

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