NC island’s residents pleading with NCDOT to stop ferry cancellations

North Carolina news

KNOTTS ISLAND, N.C. (WAVY) — Residents on Knotts Island in North Carolina are sounding the alarm. They’re pleading with the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division to stop cutting off one of their modes of transportation.

“We’re tired of being pushed around,” said longtime resident Dwight Scott. “Stop shutting our lifeline down.”

In the last couple of months, the Curituck-Knotts Island Ferry has seen a number of cancellations. Last week, the route was suspended for four days.

An NCDOT Ferry Division spokesperson said they needed to send a crew to help run the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry. As the labor shortage continues to plague the entire nation, NCDOT’S ferry division is not immune.

“It’s an ongoing circle of us getting shut down to satisfy the needs of the Hatteras crew,” Scott said.

Scott said this is the third summer in a row this route has been impacted. In 2019, Dwight says maintenance got in the way. In 2020, COVID-19 concerns brought ferry operations to a halt. Now, 2021’s challenges.

“We have to take about a 45-minute to an hour drive around to the mainland of Currituck, which means you go through southern Virginia Beach, southern Chesapeake, then you finally hit 168,” Scott said.

He said this can be a major headache for students who attend school in Currituck or for people who need to get to work on either side. He said sometimes, they get advance notice of the cancellations but other times, they find out when they show up to board.

“It’s a thriving, young, small community,” he said. “I mean we have a little bit of a tourist attraction here. We ain’t got much but it’s a nice place to live and it’s nice to have our ferry running.”

NCDOT officials said there may be more cancellations to come.

A spokesperson tells 10 On Your Side they’re still struggling to hire people, so they may need to continue to shift resources to Hatteras.

WAVY asked if cancellations would persist into fall with students going back to school and he said it’s still unclear.

In the meantime, they’re actively looking for workers. If you’re interested in applying, click here.

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