Removal of old N.C. 12 pavement north of Rodanthe complete

Removal of old N.C. 12 pavement north of Rodanthe complete

January 12th, 2023

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) recently completed the pavement removal of a former section of N.C. Highway 12 north of Rodanthe, known as the S-Curves.

The roughly two-mile stretch of former roadway is now bypassed by the Jug Handle Bridge, and removing the old section of the highway was the final step in the multiple-year Jug Handle Bridge project, which began in July 2018.

Looking north from the Welcome to Mirlo Beach sign. [Joy Crist photo]

“The pavement and sandbag removal are complete, although we are [now] in the process of cleaning up the ‘scraps’ of pieces of pavement from the road, and fabric from the sandbags that may still be left behind,” stated Tim Hass, NCDOT Communications Officer.

The pavement removal was finished on December 20, while the sandbag removal wrapped up on January 2. Now that the roadway has disappeared, the area will return to the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, per NCDOT’s original easement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

View of the Jug Handle Bridge from the new beach access/parking lot in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. [Joy Crist photo]
Public access to the 1.8-mile-long shoreline will remain, although there is no public parking area available on the southern end of the S-Curves. There is a public parking lot on the northern end of the shoreline, however, which is located just north of the Jug Handle Bridge entrance.

The S-Curves area had been one of the most vulnerable sections of N.C. Highway 12, and was routinely flooded by ocean overwash that forced closures of the highway during nor’easters and tropical weather events. In fact, the bypassed area has been covered in water and sand multiple times since the Jug Handle Bridge opened in July 2022.

Work to remove the pavement and sandbags began in early October 2022. NCDOT crews will be able to complete all remaining work without disrupting traffic on N.C. Highway 12.

View off Mirlo Beach looking north. [Joy Crist]
New parking area and beach access in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to the northern foot of the Jug Handle Bridge. [Joy Crist photo]
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