Ramp damage halts return to Hatteras

A flooded road is seen in Hatteras Island, N.C., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011after Hurricane Irene swept through the area Saturday cutting the roadway in five locations. Irene caused more than 4.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast to reportedly lose power over the weekend, and at least 11 deaths were blamed on the storm. (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)
September 5, 2011 2:30:47 PM PDT
Officials began allowing Hatteras Island residents to return home more than a week after Hurricane Irene made landfall. However, damage to a ramp has temporarily shut down the ferry that transports residents to the island.

The island was cut off from the mainland when Irene's storm surge washed out sections of Highway 12. Many of the island's 4,000 residents were evacuated before the storm.

NC Department of Transportation officials estimate the repairs will take five or more hours. An engineer is assessing the damage.

Dare County spokeswoman Dorothy Toolan said Sunday it could take up to 24 hours to repair the ramp. She says an I-beam must be brought to the site for the repair.

The ramp was damaged Sunday, which was the first day residents were allowed to return home.

The ferry runs between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe.

Visitor re-entry will not begin until sometime after September 17th.

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