-The N.C. Department of Transportation
continues to monitor conditions and has equipment and crews in place along the North Carolina coast ready to respond to Hurricane Arthur."Safety is always our top priority, and we urge everyone to stay off the roads both during and after the storm so that we can work as quickly as possible to clear them," Secretary Tata said. "We will continue to monitor conditions, and our crews are prepared to work around the clock to respond as necessary."Along the Outer Banks, about two dozen motor graders, excavators, bulldozers and front-end loaders are in place in Buxton, Ocracoke, Pea Island and Kitty Hawk in Dare and Hyde counties, and crews are on standby ready to begin cleanup efforts. More equipment and manpower is available if needed from other areas of the state.With Hatteras and Ocracoke islands both under evacuation orders, NCDOT has also worked to ensure that evacuation routes such as U.S. 64 and U.S. 158 are clear of construction and delays. The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge remains open only to traffic evacuating off the island. The bridge will have its pilings inspected by sonar, and by divers if necessary, once the storm passes to ensure it remains safe for travel.The NCDOT Ferry Division has been providing round-the-clock service between Ocracoke and Hatteras, but will be suspending that route at 5 p.m. today, when conditions are expected to worsen. The Ocracoke-Cedar Island and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter ferry routes will be shut down at 4 p.m. Crews have inspected the emergency ferry docks to ensure those sites are ready if damage is severe enough to activate the emergency routes. The Ferry Division expects service interruptions to continue at least into Friday morning, and possibly later Friday afternoon, especially on the most northern routes. In NCDOT Division 2, which includes Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico and Pitt counties, maintenance crews and equipment are ready to go when needed. High water signs and other traffic control devices are also available. NCDOT Division 3, which includes Brunswick, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Sampson counties, is also on standby with equipment ready to help clear roads of debris and direct drivers around standing water or downed power lines as needed.The Port of Morehead City is now set at Port Condition Zulu, which means gale force winds are expected to reach the port within 12 hours. The Port is now closed to both inbound and outbound vessels, and staff is continuing with storm preparations, including lowering crane booms, placing large equipment in severe weather tie down positions, moving vehicles and other equipment into warehouses, and blocking all warehouse doors.The Port of Wilmington remains at Modified Port Condition Whiskey. Port employees have topped off fuel for generators and portable light plants, and made sure warehouse doors are properly braced.NCDOT will provide real-time information about weather and travel conditions through its Twitter feeds. As the storm approaches, the department will send out tweets about road closures, flooding, ferry route updates and evacuation routes.Additional information about the storm is available on the department's other social media and web-based tools, which are easily accessible on the NCDOT website.