Dare County will move forward with proposed project in Pea Island

Published 10:28 am Saturday, February 5, 2022

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On Jan. 18, Dare County commissioners agreed to apply for a Federal Lands Access Program grant on behalf of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The grant requires the state or county to apply.

Scott Lanier, manager of the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, said the grant would address the refuge’s visitor center. The estimated project cost is $650,000 to either move the existing building or build a new facility at the soon-to-be-open parking lot at the northern end of the Rodanthe Bridge.

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The Pea Island Visitor Center is one of the hot spots along NC 12 in the refuge.

County manager Robert L. Outten brought the request to the Board of Commissioners.

At its most recent meeting, the NC 12 Task Force Subcommittee prioritized the NC 12 projects needed to continue to provide vehicular access to Hatteras and Ocracoke Island.

At the top of the list is Pea Island, with its Canal Zone and the visitor center hot spots.

Next is providing reliable ferry access to Ocracoke. The land adjacent to the Ocracoke ferry terminal where the Hatteras ferries dock is rapidly eroding. A proposal has been made to move the terminal closer to Ocracoke Village.

Win Bridgers, deputy Division 1 engineer, said of these top projects, “neither one’s easy to solve.” He called them the “hardest to fund and fix.”
David Hallac, superintendent of the Eastern Parks of the National Park Service, called the Ocracoke situation “critical.”

The next hot spot to address would be the portion of NC 12 between Frisco and Hatteras.

And the last area would be Buxton and Avon. Beach nourishment, regarded as a short term fix, is scheduled for those two villages this summer.

Outten presented two other items not on the published agenda at the Jan. 18, 2022 meeting.

He requested – and the commissioners agreed – to appoint Andrea Dilenge as deputy clerk. Dilenge, who works in the Planning Department and is the clerk to the county’s Planning Board, has substituted before when the board’s appointed clerk Cheryl Anby has been absent.

Outten asked if the board would like to be a $5,000 sponsor of the 2022 Economic Summit organized by the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce. The commissioners agreed.