RALEIGH - As winds from Hurricane Sandy calm along the North Carolina coast, crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation are starting to assess the damage caused by the storm, and clear sand and debris from roadways. In many cases, NCDOT cannot fully determine the extent of the storm's impact until significant clean-up work is complete.
Crews are currently addressing these key areas:
U.S. 158 in Kitty Hawk
The highway remains covered with high water. Local traffic is being rerouted around the area.
During the storm, water from the ocean rushed over N.C. 12 and got trapped between N.C. 12 and U.S. 158. Because it has nowhere to drain, NCDOT is bringing in large pumps, which will pipe the standing water back into the ocean. The pumps are currently en route to the area and will begin operating throughout the day today. The department does not have an estimate yet on how long it will take to remove all the water and clear the road.
N.C. 12 in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head
NCDOT crews are now clearing sand and debris from N.C. 12, which is known locally as the "Beach Road." The highway is littered with pieces of homes, decks and driveways.
Crews today are conducting an on-site inspection of the Bonner Bridge, which spans Oregon Inlet and connects Hatteras Island to the mainland. The inspectors will evaluate the condition of the top part of the bridge and determine how it fared during the storm.
The seas remain too rough at this time to conduct a scour inspection from the water. NCDOT estimates it will likely be tomorrow before inspectors can safely get in boats and examine the water depth around the bridge's support columns. They will also determine how the sand under the bridge has shifted since the storm passed along the Outer Banks.
Bonner Bridge remains closed to traffic until NCDOT can fully assess the damage to N.C. 12 on Pea Island and reopen the road.
N.C. 12 on Pea Island
Crews are clearing sand and water on N.C. 12 on Pea Island. The highway experienced significant overwash and flooding in this area during the storm.
Crews are traveling to Ocracoke Island to begin clearing roads impacted by Hurricane Sandy on the 11 a.m. ferry from Swan Quarter. N.C. 12 is covered with sand and water in some parts of the island.
Flood waters have receded from highways in areas such as Stacy and Cedar Island that were inundated during the storm, and those roads are now open to traffic. Motorists may encounter some standing water on less heavily traveled secondary roads in parts of the county.
NCDOT reminds residents and visitors in these areas not to drive through standing water. Just one foot of water can float many vehicles. If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and find another, safer route.
The department urges motorists to "know before you go" about travel conditions in eastern North Carolina. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone and bookmark it for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.
(Editor's note: For photos of the storm's effe