N.C. Highway 12 (NC 12) is a vital community lifeline as the only north-south roadway through the Town of Duck and north to Corolla, providing daily traffic needs, pedestrian and bicycle access, emergency vehicle access, and storm evacuation.
Portions of NC 12 are subject to flooding from both runoff from heavy rains and inundation by storm surge from the Currituck Sound. These flooding events prohibit north-south travel through and within the Town, blocking daily travel, emergency vehicles, the evacuation route, and pedestrian and bicycle travel. This issue is particularly acute in areas where NC 12 runs adjacent to the Sound at low elevations. This segment of Hwy 12 was identified as the most vulnerable stretch of public roadway in Duck by the Vulnerability Assessment conducted by the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University. Raising the elevation of this stretch of Hwy 12 is also listed as an important goal of the Town’s adopted Hazard Mitigation Plan.
Over recent decades, coastal wetlands along the adjoining shoreline have substantially eroded, resulting in a loss of marsh habitat and shoreline. In addition to the environmental benefits, the need to stabilize and protect this shoreline goes hand-in-hand with the road elevation project to improve the resiliency of NC 12.
As part of the Town’s Comprehensive Pedestrian Plan, phased infrastructure projects have been occurring whereby sidewalks have been added to both sides of NC 12 throughout Duck Village in conjunction with widening existing road shoulders to formal bike lanes. Three phases of this construction have been completed, providing important safety enhancements and transportation alternatives for those traveling within Duck Village. A fourth phase extending the west side improvements to the existing crosswalk at Sunset Grille has been designed.
The Town of Duck’s Living Shoreline & Resiliency Project is intended to address all these goals and issues through the construction of a comprehensive coastal resiliency project.