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Solution may be near for OBX Highway 12 problems - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Solution may be near for OBX Highway 12 problems

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Stacy Whitehead Ashley Stacy Whitehead Ashley
MANTEO, N.C. -

People living on the Outer Banks are meeting to discuss the future of Highway 12.

Again last week, the road was closed because of water overwash. And that's causing major headaches for businesses and may have some people re-thinking their summer vacation plans.

The Outer Banks has taken a beating and why people living there aren't giving up the fight against Mother Nature.
   
The Department of Transportation says it has a solution, and they want to hear what you think.

High winds caused Highway 12 along Pea Island to close for much of last week, and it happens often.
     
It's a growing problem for businesses and people living in the Outer Banks.
     
Scott Busbey owns Natural Art Surf Shop in Buxton and says the constant closures affect his business.

"For businesses it's hard. And it's hard for the people that want to come down here. I have a friend who has a rental house and he's already had to a lot of cancellations for next year, because people just don't know if they can get here the weekend that they're planning to come here," said Busbey.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene severely damaged two parts of Highway 12.
     
Since then, the North Carolina DOT has come up with temporary fixes to the problem. One of those fixes, a temporary bridge along Pea Island.

"We did temporary fixes to allow traffic to continue moving through the area, but those were in no way considered long term solutions," said NCDOT spokesperson Dara Demi.
     
Now, NCDOT says they have a long-term solution; building a permanent bridge.  
     
For the next three days, Demi says the public can hear about the plan and give their opinion on the proposed solution.

"We're really interested in hearing back from the citizens, who live, work, and visit that area. What they think about what we are planning to do as a long term solution for NC 12," said Demi.

Busbey says Outer Banks life is always threatened by weather, but keeping the roads open is essential.

"It's not like the road has never ever been closed before, but now it seems to be since the ocean has gotten so close to the road that it just happening every month," Busbey.

NCDOT representatives say after all the meetings they hope to begin construction in the fall.
     
The tentative cost for the bridge is about $90-million.
     
There's no word yet on how long the construction will take and when the road closures will stop.

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