OCRACOKE – Officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division decided late Wednesday that the Hatteras-Ocracoke Silver Lake route will remain open.
The reversal, which came in response to public demand, came after the division announced Tuesday that service between Hatteras and Ocracoke-Silver Lake would be discontinued Thursday.
NCDOT also announced Wednesday that N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island will open Thursday to certain types of vehicles.
Ferries will travel from Hatteras to Ocracoke-Silver Lake at 6 .m. 11:15 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and from Ocracoke-Silver Lake to Hatteras at 8:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m. 7:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke Silver Lake route, open only to high ground-clearance vehicles, is highly susceptible to suspension during adverse weather conditions. Due to potential ramp damage at Silver Lake, all heavy loads must access Ocracoke via Swan Quarter or Cedar Island.
NCDOT opened N.C. 12 on Ocracoke Island on Thursday to four-wheel drive vehicles rated at ¾ ton capacity or smaller, such as Ford F250, GM K2500 or Ram 2500. Trailers will not be allowed at this time. The Ferry Division will be running ferries from Hatteras to Ocracoke-South Dock at 6:15 a.m., 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 4:45 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and from Ocracoke-South Dock to Hatteras at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Hyde County is only allowing residents, nonresident property owners, and authorized personnel to access Ocracoke Island. All motorists and pedestrians boarding an Ocracoke-bound ferry must meet the re-entry criteria or be given prior approval by the county. Ocracoke commuter pass owners whose vehicles were destroyed in the storm can bring their information and identification to the Ocracoke-Silver Lake ferry terminal between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a new pass.
Reservations are not available on the Hatteras-Ocracoke South Dock route or the Hatteras-Ocracoke Silver Lake route. Vehicles will be loaded by the re-entry priority procedures established by Hyde County. Motorists should arrive 30 minutes before departure time.
Volunteer groups approved to access Ocracoke are encouraged to board the ferries without vehicles to leave as much deck space as possible for vehicles necessary for hurricane recovery services.