NCDOT requests approval for sandbags where Old N.C. 12 will end in Rodanthe

The new bridge into Rodanthe will bypass the troublesome S-Turns and Mirlo Beach areas. [NCDOT webcam]

The North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission, when it meets at 9 a.m. Feb.10 in Beaufort, is expected to consider a request from the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a variance from coastal regulations that would allow the department to install a sandbag structure after N.C. 12 is moved to the new bridge at Rodanthe.

The request is one of a number of items the commission is expected to address when it meets at the Beaufort Hotel at 2440 Lennoxville Road.

The Coastal Resources Advisory Council is to meet the day before at 3 p.m. Feb. 9. Both meetings are open to the public. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, all attendees should wear a mask and maintain social distance during the meeting.

A public input and comment period is scheduled for noon Feb. 10. At the chair’s discretion, comments may be limited to three minutes per person.

NCDOT owns the N.C. 12 right-of-way in the Rodanthe area. Construction is expected to be completed in the next few months on the “jug-handle” bridge, a 2.4-mile bridge that bypasses a vulnerable area known as the S-curves at the southern end of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

NCDOT plans to redirect N.C. 12 traffic via the new bridge and remove existing roadway from the refuge. South of the refuge, NCDOT proposes to develop a turnaround area for traffic to continue to access north Rodanthe up to this dead-end and build a sandbag structure perpendicular to the highway to protect the new dead-end turnaround area.

NCDOT’s proposed project drawing submitted September 2021, included in the variance request packet.

The state Division of Coastal Management on Oct. 25, 2021, denied NCDOT’s permit application based on its inconsistency with the commission’s oceanfront setback rules and rules regarding the orientation, size and color of sandbags. NCDOT needs a variance from those rules approved by the commission in order to develop the turnaround and new sandbag structure as proposed.

Related: When bridge is complete, part of NC may return to nature

A full meeting agenda and briefing materials can be found on the CRC website. Times indicated on the agenda for individual items are subject to change.

Other agenda items include the following: