NC 12 suffers overwash damage from Hurricane Matthew

WAVY/Andy Fox
WAVY/Andy Fox

KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina Highway 12 in the Outer Banks was once again heavily damaged by overwash as the tide surged across the Outer Banks during Hurricane Matthew.

Cleanup underway after Matthew pummels region with rain, flooding

Kitty Hawk Mayor Gary Perry says he was taken by surprise by the sudden wash-away on NC 12.

“Actually, we were really surprised. We woke up Sunday and everything was fine,” Perry tells 10 On Your Side. “Come about five o’clock in the afternoon and I got a call and I said ‘what happened?’ And I was told the road was gone, and I didn’t expect it.”

About 125 yards of road closest to the ocean has caved in. The lane farther from the ocean is still intact.

Photos: NC 12 overwash from Hurricane Matthew

Many side streets in towns up and down the Outer Banks remained flooded as dawn broke Monday. Clayton Cutler, with the Dare County Water Department, was out in the area Monday morning surveying the damage.

“We’re checking the level of erosion on the road here to make sure that we don’t end up with a breach in our waterline,” Cutler said. “Basically, I’m monitoring the system here to make sure that, if it does get too close to our waterline, we isolate the water.”

By Monday morning, the long-lost sun had returned to show the reality of what Matthew left behind in Kitty Hawk.

Perry stood at the side of the collapsed road, and said, “The dune that was there washed away in Hermine. The state came along and put in sand, and then Matthew washed that away…we didn’t have the  chance to put in sandbags.”

It is clear the sandbags make a difference because previously washed out roads that are supported by sandbags weighing tons do not appear to wash away easily.

“The sand bags have held up and that is the difference between this part of the road here (points to road that is intact supported by sandbags) and that part there which we lost,” Perry says.

NCDOT officials say motorists should use caution as there is deep standing water on NC 12 from Corolla to Kitty Hawk. There are areas of 12-inch deep water from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head.

NC 12 was still closed from SR1243 South to Hatteras Monday morning.

Perry also thinks  it will take two to three weeks to repair the road, but he says the real improvements to the road will be with sand replenishment in the spring that will cost $23 million and will hopefully extend the beach 140 feet towards the east.

“Having that extra amount of beach will make a huge difference in protecting the road,” Perry added.