Ramp damage halts return to Hatteras
DARE COUNTY -- Officials began allowing Hatteras Island residents to return home more than a week after Hurricane Irene made landfall. However, damage to a ramp has temporarily shut down the ferry that transports residents to the island.
The island was cut off from the mainland when Irene's storm surge washed out sections of Highway 12. Many of the island's 4,000 residents were evacuated before the storm.
NC Department of Transportation officials estimate the repairs will take five or more hours. An engineer is assessing the damage.
Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Toolan said Sunday it could take up to 24 hours to repair the ramp. She says an I-beam must be brought to the site for the repair.
The ramp was damaged Sunday, which was the first day residents were allowed to return home.
The ferry runs between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.
Visitor re-entry will not begin until sometime after September 17th.
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