RALEIGH – N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Jim Trogdon on Friday waived all ferry tolls for people using the coastal vessels.
Ocracoke Island reopened Friday to the public for the first time since Hurricane Florence prompted an evacuation more than a week ago. Tolls were waived on all routes until further notice due to impacts to the region.
NCDOT’s Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes, both of which deliver people to Ocracoke Village, are operating on a limited schedule. The Hatteras Inlet ferry, has not yet been cleared for public service. A revised ferry schedule can be found on the NCDOT website.
Also on Friday, Hyde County announced it would be activating its tram service in Ocracoke to help with walk on traffic from the ferries. It is free to use and available to anyone who would like to use it. The tram service will be in operation starting at 1 p.m. tomorrow.
Ocracoke visitors unable to secure a reservation on the ferries can park vehicles at the ferry terminal and walk on instead. The trams are part of the new passenger ferry service that will be coming to Ocracoke in the future.
The village of Ocracoke escaped significant damage from Florence, but N.C. 12 on the northern part of the island was damaged.
After the storm passed, the department used its Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry to take workers and equipment to Ocracoke to start clearing sand-covered N.C. 12. Since then, NCDOT has secured an emergency contract to repair damaged pavement and reconstruct a protective dune next to N.C. 12, which serves as the main thoroughfare for Ocracoke and the rest of the Outer Banks.
Depending on the weather, NCDOT expects pavement repairs to be completed by Sept. 28 so N.C. 12 can be reopened to traffic. NCDOT will use temporary traffic control while reconstructing the dune, which is due for completion by Nov. 30.
Once N.C. 12 can be opened to traffic, the Hatteras ferry route will open to the public.