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Home arrow Other Coastlines arrow Outside NZ arrow A North Carolina Lifeline Built on Shifting Sands
A North Carolina Lifeline Built on Shifting Sands PDF Print
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Other Coastlines - Outside NZ
Written by Cornelia Dean, The New York Times   
Wednesday, 07 March 2012
WEAK POINT An inlet cut by Hurricane Irene, later reinforced with rock.

RODANTHE, N.C. ó Last August, when Hurricane Irene sliced across the Outer Banks, it cut Highway 12, Hatteras Islandís lifeline, in two places. Engineers rushed to repair the damage, filling and repaving a washed-out stretch of roadway here and building a bridge over a newly formed inlet a few miles to the north.

The road reopened on Oct. 11, to the cheers of anglers, would-be vacationers and the innkeepers, restaurateurs and merchants whose livelihoods had taken a huge blow.

But the winds and waves that shape the coast were already gnawing at the new bridge. By January, engineers were reinforcing its southern approach with sandbags and rock trucked in from the mainland, in hopes of keeping the road open until a more permanent fix could be designed and built.

The Outer Banks are home to some of the nationís most celebrated beach communities. The road that links them, also called N.C. 12, offers an extreme example of the difficulty of maintaining houses, condos, roads and other infrastructure in the face of a climate-driven rise in sea level.

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