Feds offer relief funds for damaged NC roads
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. -- Federal officials are releasing $4 million in emergency funds to North Carolina to help repair roads damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Wednesday.
North Carolina follows New York and Rhode Island in requesting assistance from the Department of Transportation, and the $4 million represents another installment of federal aid going toward repair.
North Carolina will use the funding to repair portions of U.S. 158 and N.C. 12.
The NCDOT said Sandy left deep sand in areas on N.C. 12 on Pea Island from south of the Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe. Crews also discovered pavement damage on the road on the south side of the temporary bridge over the Pea Island breach.
At Rodanthe, crews found damage to the sandbags placed along N.C. 12 after Hurricane Irene hit the area last year.
The N.C. Department of Transportation said crews used nine pumps to lower the water so U.S. 158 in Kitty Hawk can reopen.
Work crews are trying to reopen N.C. 12 on Pea Island between the Bonner Bridge and the temporary bridge erected after Hurricane Irene last year. Sand is up to 4 inches deep in some places.
Emergency ferry route activated for NC coast
State officials have activated an emergency ferry route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe to assist residents trying to return to Hatteras Island.
The NCDOT said a schedule is in place to assist Dare County with re-entry. Visitors will not be allowed to enter Hatteras Island, but will be allowed to depart.
Also on Wednesday, the Pamlico Sound ferry routes returned to their normal fall schedule of four departures from each side on the Cedar Island-Ocracoke route and two departures from each side on the Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route.
Hyde County Emergency Management said visitors will not be allowed entry.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke route resumed operations, however, the normal winter schedule of departures every hour will not take place. A new schedule of departures every other hour has been instituted.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke schedule will be departing Hatteras at 6 a.m., 8, 10, noon, 2 p.m., 4, 6, 8, 10 and midnight; and departing Ocracoke at 5 a.m., 7, 9, 11, 1 p.m., 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
NC Guard choppers fly north to aid relief effort
The North Carolina Army National Guard is sending a helicopter task force to New Jersey to help with the relief effort following Hurricane Sandy.
Three UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters with 16 pilots and crew departed Wednesday from North Carolina. They were joined by two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Georgia Army National Guard.
The task force will operate from Joint Base McGuire-Dix in Lakehurst, N.J., to assist in search and recovery and rescue operations, as well as ferrying people and supplies in the disaster area. The mission is scheduled to last through Sunday but could be extended if needed.
Guard commander Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk says North Carolina was largely spared by Sandy, but he knows the northeastern states ravaged by the storm would have sent help if roles were reversed.
Amtrak expands return to service through NC
Passenger train service in North Carolina is slowly returning to normal.
N.C. Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sondra Artis said Wednesday that Amtrak's Piedmont and Carolinian service between Raleigh and Charlotte is operating normally.
Artis said the Carolinian, which normally provides service to New York, will operate between Charlotte and Philadelphia with no alternate service north of there. The remnants of Hurricane Sandy and damage left behind continue to impact passenger train service in the mid-Atlantic states and on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.
Other trains that pass through North Carolina will provide limited service on Wednesday as well. The Palmetto remains canceled, while the Crescent and Silver Meteor will go as far north as Washington, D.C., with limited alternate service to Philadelphia. The Silver Star will operate between Jacksonville and Miami only.
Two North Carolina deaths blamed on storm
North Carolina authorities are reporting the state's second death related to Hurricane Sandy.
The Highway Patrol reports that a male driver ran into a downed tree at approximately 7:15 p.m. Monday in Surry County, located northwest of Winston Salem in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The man was declared dead at the scene. His name and age have not been released.
Also on Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the body of Claudene Christian, a 42-year-old crewman on the HMS Bounty, a replica 18th Century sailing ship that sank off the coast of North Carolina during the storm. The search is continuing at sea for Robin Walbridge, the ship's 63-year-old captain. Fourteen other crew members were rescued.
No other injuries due to the storm have been reported.
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