North Carolina Highway 12
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2011)|
|Maintained by NCDOT|
|Length:||148 mi (238 km)|
|Existed:||1962 – present|
|South end:||US 70 in Sea Level|
|US 64 / US 158 in Nags Head|
|North end:||North Beach Access Ramp in Corolla, NC|
|Counties:||Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Carteret|
North Carolina Highway 12 (NC 12) is a state highway that traverses the northeastern coastline of North Carolina, linking the peninsula and islands of the northern Outer Banks. It is a popular route for visitors touring the area. Most sections of NC 12 are two lanes wide and three segments of the route are connected by ferries.
Beginning at its southern terminus in Sea Level where it starts at the intersection of U.S. Highway 70, NC 12 (Beach Road travels north on the mainland to Cedar Island. At Cedar Island the highway follows a toll ferry to the village of Ocracoke on Ocracoke Island. The highway follows along the beach, traversing Hatteras Inlet by way of a free ferry to the village of Hatteras. It continues paralleling the beach on the narrow barrier island of Hatteras, passing through the communities of Frisco and Buxton, which is home of the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Continuing northward it passes through the communities of Avon, Salvo, Waves, and Rodanthe. It crosses the temporary New Inlet bridge (the inlet reopened by Hurricane Irene in 2011) and a few miles north the Herbert C. Bonner bridge over Oregon Inlet, separating Pea Island from Bodie Island. Nearby is the Bodie Island Lighthouse and visitor center. NC 12 then continues north, where it intersects US Highway 64 (US 64) and US 158 south of the town of Nags Head. It continues north through the towns of Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, and Duck, terminating in Corolla near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Ferries along the route of NC 12 are operated by the Ferry Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
The highway is the eastern most primary route in the state.
Attractions along the way
- Currituck Beach Lighthouse at Corolla
- Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills
- Jockey's Ridge at Nags Head
- Bodie Island Lighthouse within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse near Buxton
- Ocracoke Lighthouse near the village of Ocracoke
- Portsmouth on Portsmouth Island (view only from ferry)
- Pirates of Chicamacomico on Hatteras Island in Rodanthe, NC
In the 1920s, NC 12 was born as a route from Pollocksville (near New Bern) to the Virginia border, through Kinston, Rich Square, Tarboro, and Murfreesboro. NC 12 north of Kinston was truncated in 1934 and US 258 took its place. In the 1950s, NC 58 completely took over NC 12's remaining route and NC 12 was decommissioned. A road linking the southern and central Outer Banks communities was paved and designated as NC 12 in 1962. A year later, a bridge across Oregon Inlet was constructed and NC 12 was routed along it. This bridge was built to eliminate the need for ferry service to and from Hatteras Island and to provide a quick hurricane evacuation route. In 1987, NC 12 was extended north of Nags Head along the Virginia Dare Trail (then Business US 158). NC 12 was extended further to Corolla, its present northern terminus, a year later.
Hatteras Island was cut in two on September 18, 2003 by Hurricane Isabel which opened a new inlet 3,000 feet (910 m) wide and 30 feet (9.1 m) deep through the community of Hatteras Village on the southern end of Hatteras Island. This new inlet was temporarily named the Isabel Inlet after the hurricane. Road access along NC 12 was temporarily severed until the island was repaired and restored by sand pumped ashore by the Army Corps of Engineers. In 2007, Subtropical Storm Andrea caused high winds to push waves over dunes and onto the highway on Hatteras Island, leaving water a foot deep and sand 2 to 3 feet (0.91 m) deep in some places.
NC 12 was severed in two places by Hurricane Irene in late August 2011. The road was breached by two small inlets, about 200 feet (61 m) across apiece, in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and north of Rodanthe. As a result, the only way to access Hatteras Island was by ferry. On October 10, 2011, a temporary bridge opened over the largest breach. The bridge, which is 662 feet (202 m) long, could be in place for more than 10 years while other solutions are thought out. As Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast in October 2012, it has left portions of NC 12 inundated with salt water and sand. That forced the closure of the road, leaving the remaining people on the Outer Banks isolated from mainland North Carolina.
In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy washed out or damaged a portion of the road at the S-curves north of Rodanthe on the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Emergency ferry service was established from Rodanthe to Stumpy point ferry terminals. As in 2011, the ferry service became the lifeline for Hatteras Island. Noreasters and storms repeatedly caused breaches since the road was repaired in December 2012. A state of emergency was declared and $20.8 million of emergency federal funding was secured to construct a more permanent repair.
|Carteret||Sea Level||0.0||0.0||US 70 – Beaufort, Atlantic|
|Pamlico Sound||12.0||19.3||Cedar Island-Ocracoke Ferry|
|Hyde||Ocracoke||32.0||51.5||NC 45 north – Swan Quarter||At Ocracoke terminal|
|Pamlico Sound||45.7||73.5||Cape Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry|
|Dare||99.0||159.3||Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet|
|Nags Head||110.3||177.5||US 64 west / US 158 west – Manteo, Kill Devil Hills||Whalebone Junction|
|Kitty Hawk||125.5||202.0||US 158 – Nags Head, Elizabeth City, Norfolk|
|Currituck||Corolla||148.0||238.2||North Beach Access Ramp|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Season's first named storm unleashes band of rain | HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com
- Fernandes, Deirdre (October 10, 2011). "N.C. 12 has opened, restoring traffic to Hatteras Island". The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia). Retrieved October 11, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to North Carolina Highway 12.|
- NCRoads (mirror) - NC 12
- Cape Hatteras Nat'l Seashore - NC 12 through Cape Hatteras
- Pirates of Chicamacomico