The National Park Service has approved a plan submitted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to construct improvements to support a Hatteras-Ocracoke Passenger Ferry.
A Finding of No Significant Impact was recently signed by Stan Austin, director of the Southeast Region of the National Park Service, completing the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act processes, which began earlier this year.
NCDOT requested a special use permit from the National Park Service to construct several facilities within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Seashore) to support the operation of a new passenger ferry system.
The Hatteras-Ocracoke Passenger Ferry project will help provide another option for transportation service to the Seashore and may alleviate some of the vehicle congestion and wait time experienced during the peak tourist season from May through September. The special use permit will authorize NCDOT to construct several improvements including:
- The existing Hatteras ferry terminal space will be converted into two additional parking areas to accommodate passenger vehicles and NCDOT ferry division employees.
- A new open air passenger waiting facility will be constructed in front of the Ocracoke Visitor Center to shelter passenger ferry users from the elements.
- Sidewalk improvements will be constructed to connect the passenger waiting area to the Ocracoke Visitor Center and ferry dock to create safe passageways for travelers.
- A transit pullout area in front of the Ocracoke Visitor Center will be constructed to allow for safe pickup and drop-off of passenger ferry users.
- A new restroom facility will be constructed behind the Ocracoke Visitor Center on an existing trailer foundation to augment existing restroom facilities.
- The existing boardwalk-ramp at the Ocracoke Visitor Center will be relocated to the right side of the deck area.
NCDOT plans to begin construction on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands during the 2017-2018 winter season.