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Rodanthe Harbor to get new boat ramp and parking

Improving the Rodanthe Harbor boat launch has been on Dare County’s “to do” list since 2017.

On March 9, 2021, the county announced that building a new boat launch would start April 5.

The new ramp, to be built by a crew from North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission, is expected to be completed in 90 days. The area is to stay closed 60 additional days for a contractor to work on the roadway and install new parking areas for vehicles and boat trailers.

Under this schedule, the new ramp area would be completed around July 3. The asphalt paving would be finished around Sept. 1, 2021.

At the March 15 Board of Commissioners meeting, board Chairman Robert L. Woodard mentioned the start of the boat ramp project in his opening remarks.

About three hours later, county manager Robert L. Outten said he had received phone calls from people who use the old ramp and from businesses whose customers use the ramp. The phone callers were concerned that the long closure will negatively impact business. “I get that,” said Outten.

The manager reported that the county asked the Wildlife Resources Commission if the project could be delayed to the “off time” of the year. Outten stated that, if delayed, the project would not come back in rotation for three or four years with no guarantee that money would be available to do construction.

“So, delaying the project is not an option for us,” said Outten.

An option is to find out if there is some way to use the harbor during construction.

Outten mentioned the south side of the emergency ferry bulkhead. Outten said the county was working hard on it.

As a result of the community meetings held about the harbor, a list of conditions is in place for constructing the ramp and paving. Information shared with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission construction crew is:

– Ramps construction shall be staged so that emergency services jet skis can launch at any time during the project.

– Commercial fishing docking and loading/unloading shall continue during the project. Bulkheads will be designed as cantilever so that tie-backs will not be needed that could negatively impact docking access.

The special conditions appearing in the parking lot contract are more extensive:

– Construction site must be accessible by emergency responders 24/7.

– Site cannot be closed by a locked gate. Contractor to be responsible for site security.

– Recycling facility shall remain open during construction.

– Construction shall be staged so that a path 12 feet wide to the helipad exists at all times.

– In the event of a hurricane or other disaster situation, NCDOT may shut down the project to operate the emergency ferry dock. All equipment and materials would be required to be moved out of the path of travel to the emergency ferry dock. NCDOT shutdown may occur with as little as four hours’ notice.

– Due to the proximity to the emergency services helipad, contractor shall be aware of the chance of high winds over project area. Materials and debris should be secured accordingly.

– Due to proximity to the emergency services helipad, any equipment over 200 feet in height shall have lights.

– Commercial fishing, docking and loading/unloading shall continue during project.

Dare County’s announcement reported “the chosen ramp design features a two-lane boat dock with a 60-foot-long center floating dock and courtesy platform. The ramp will extend 17 feet into the water of the T-shaped harbor that then connects with a federal navigation channel called Blackmar Gut before leading into the Pamlico Sound.

“During the construction process, new asphalt will be poured in order to pave the way for 14 to 16 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. A 30-foot-long vegetated buffer will also be constructed along the southern edge of the boat ramp.”

Dare County owns the land where the Rodanthe Boating Access Area will be constructed. The county has partnered with the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission for the project.

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