News Releases

7/6/2015: NC Ferry Crew Rescues Neuse River Sailor In Distress

NC Ferry Crew Rescues Neuse River Sailor In Distress

Posted 7/6/2015 10:21:27 AM

Cherry Branch - As the crew of the North Carolina Ferry M/V Chicamacomico was loading cars for its last departure of the day from Minnesott Beach Saturday afternoon, security watch stander John Brann noticed something amiss on the Neuse River in Pamlico County. A sailboat had tipped and rolled over just outside of the ferry basin and was rapidly drifting into the river channel. Brann immediately informed crew members Paul Abare and Stevenson Lee Weeks, who notified Captain Wendell Hunnings of the boater in distress. Hunnings then ordered Abare and Weeks to launch the Chicamacomico's rescue boat. Upon reaching the boater, Abare and Weeks determined the sailor, Sean Pollin of Linden, Va., did not need medical assistance but did need help in righting his boat. Working together, Pollin, Abare and Weeks pulled the sailboat out of the current and into shallow water where Pollin was able to pull it ashore. Pollin said he had underestimated the winds on the Neuse and was overcome by them. The rescue was the third of boaters in distress by ferry crews in the past 22 months. On Sept. 26, 2013, the crew of the M/V Cedar Island rescued two sailors in rough seas just off of Ocracoke. On March 29, 2015, the crew of the M/V Thomas A. Baum came to the aid of a New Bern man whose sailboat had also overturned on the Neuse. "Once again, a ferry crew used its skill and training to help a boater in distress", said Ferry Division Director Ed Goodwin. "Safety has always been our top priority, and our crews are well prepared to deal with emergencies not only on our vessels but elsewhere in the water as well. We are proud of the service our crews provide to all the residents and visitors of eastern North Carolina." After the rescue boat and crew returned to the ferry, the Chicamacomico completed its scheduled run to Cherry Branch. ***NCDOT***
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A North Carolina ferry crew comes to the aid of a sailor whose boat overturned in the Neuse River on July 4, 2015.
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7/1/2015: North Carolina Unveils Redesigned 'First In Freedom’ License Plate

North Carolina Unveils Redesigned 'First In Freedom’ License Plate

Posted 7/1/2015 4:15:52 PM

Raleigh - On this Fourth of July Week, North Carolina is unveiling a new state license plate that recognizes the state's historic role in the creation of the United States. Beginning today, North Carolina motorists can choose a new "First in Freedom" standard state license plate for the first time since 1982. The "First in Freedom" plate joins the "First in Flight" plate, as the second standard-issue option for vehicle owners.   "North Carolina is a state of firsts and we continue to be a leader in innovation," said Governor Pat McCrory. "What a great way to celebrate North Carolina's rich history and the birth of our nation by offering drivers a chance to proudly display a plate that honors our contribution to freedom, here in one of the most military friendly states."    The phrase "First in Freedom" recognizes two "firsts" established by North Carolinians during the early stages of the American Revolution. The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves have been noted throughout history as the first steps by one of the original 13 colonies to secede from Great Britain.   "As a veteran I’m proud to help issue the 'First in Freedom' plate, honoring this important value that many North Carolina servicemen and women continue to fight for and uphold everyday," said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. "We look forward to seeing these plates displayed proudly on our state roadways soon."   This new version was designed by Charles Robinson, a Troy, N.C., resident, historian and license plate collector. The plate features an amber quill pen, which symbolizes the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence and the Halifax Resolves. The signing dates of these two events, May 20, 1775 (Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence) and April 12, 1776 (Halifax Resolves), are featured at the top center of the plate over the title letters, which display "First in Freedom."   Robinson used the amber color as a key component of the quill pen as a tribute to the primary color of the classic state license plates of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Those plates were manufactured in amber and black.   The original First in Freedom plate was unveiled Jan. 10, 1975, as part of a collaborative initiative between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. The initial plate was established to promote recognition of the 200th anniversary of the nation’s independence.   To apply for your "First in Freedom" license plate at no additional charge, please request the plate at the time of your registration renewal. A standard charge will be due if you apply for the plate at non-renewal times.   Vehicle owners may visit the Division’s website to find the location of license plate agencies who can take orders for the plates.   To view all license plates available through the Division, please visit the specialty plates website.
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Charles Robinson, left, receives one of the first "First in Freedom" license plates issued on July 1, 2015, from Division of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Kelly J. Thomas. Robinson, of Troy, designed the plate, which recognizes two "firsts" established by North Carolinians during the early stages of the American Revolution.
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6/26/2015: This Week at NCDOT: Making Your Travel Easier this Holiday Weekend

This Week at NCDOT: Making Your Travel Easier this Holiday Weekend

Posted 6/26/2015 2:37:57 PM

25th anniversary of I-40 from Raleigh to Wilmington, travel tips for the Fourth of July, Booze it & Lose it: Operation Firecracker keeps drunk drivers off the road, moped registration requirements start July 1 and congressmen make a visit to the Port of Wilmington RALEIGH — The following are highlights from the past week at the N.C. Department of Transportation. Several of the below stories are also featured in our weekly newscast, NCDOT Now, which can be viewed by clicking here.  25th Anniversary of Interstate 40 from Raleigh to Wilmington June 29 marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of I-40 from Raleigh to Wilmington. This 121-mile-long stretch of interstate connected North Carolina’s mountains to the coast with a four-lane, divided highway. It was also the last section of I-40 to open in the country, completing the 2,554-mile-long interstate.  NCDOT Aims to Help Travelers Save Time, Money Over Fourth of July WeekendTo make sure everyone has a safe and stress-free trip during the holiday weekend, NCDOT will suspend most road construction activities on major routes across the state. Eliminating traffic delays will help you reach your destination quicker and safer, while also saving on fuel consumption.  Booze it & Lose it: Operation Firecracker From June 26 through July 5, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina will step up efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads as part of Booze it & Lose it: Operation Firecracker. The campaign also serves to remind drivers that they have options and drunk driving is not one of them. Instead of driving, you can: take the bus or cab, get a ride from a friend, or use an app to get a ride.  NCDMV State Moped Registrations Begin July 1 On Wednesday, July 1, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will introduce new statewide requirements for moped operators in accordance with House Bill 1145. These new regulations require all moped operators to register their vehicle with the DMV, and obtain a registration card and license plate, which must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle at all times.    Congressmen Shuster, Rouzer Talk Harbor Improvements at Port of WilmingtonThe North Carolina State Ports Authority welcomed Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-9) and Congressman David Rouzer (NC-7) to the Port of Wilmington on Friday, June 19, where they discussed the importance of the Wilmington Harbor and the Port of Wilmington’s impact on the state’s economy. North Carolina's Ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and in Greensboro, link the state's consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry while receiving no direct taxpayer subsidy. For more information on NCDOT Now, contact the NCDOT Communications Office at (919) 707-2660. Additional news stories from throughout the week can be found on NCDOT’s online newsroom. ***NCDOT***
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6/25/2015: NCDMV State Moped Registrations Begin July 1

NCDMV State Moped Registrations Begin July 1

Posted 6/25/2015 2:16:45 PM

RALEIGH — On Wednesday, July 1, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will introduce new statewide requirements for moped operators in accordance with House Bill 1145. These new regulations require all moped operators to register their vehicle with the DMV, and obtain a registration card and license plate, which must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle at all times.    Moped operators will be required to visit their local license plate agency for the registration process. The office locations can be found on the DMV website. The cost of registering each moped is $18 annually. Durham ($15), Orange ($15), Randolph ($1) and Wake ($5) counties each charge an additional transit tax.   Operators must be 16 years of age or older and must have a valid N.C. driver license or N.C. ID card along with the moped manufacturer’s certificate of origin (MCO). If an operator does not have an MCO for their vehicle, the operator can fill out an Affidavit of Facts for the Registration of a Moped form (MVR-58) to serve as proof of ownership. State statute defines a moped as having two or three wheels with an engine capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, no external shifting device or the ability to exceed 30 miles per hour on a level surface. To help customers determine if their vehicle falls within the moped category, Division License and Theft Bureau inspectors will be available at most license plate agencies during the first week of issuance to answer questions. If an L&T inspector is not available, you can visit your nearest L&T District office. Please visit the Division’s website to find Frequently Asked Questions and other information about registering and operating a moped. ***NCDOT***
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6/15/2015: New Settlement Agreement for Bonner Bridge and N.C. 12

New Settlement Agreement for Bonner Bridge and N.C. 12

Posted 6/15/2015 10:56:07 AM

RALEIGH  — The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have finalized a settlement agreement with Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, allowing NCDOT to replace the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet with a new parallel bridge.  Under the agreement, NCDOT will also consider options that would move vulnerable portions of N.C. Highway 12 out of the southern half of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and into Pamlico Sound.  The Bonner Bridge is in frequent need of repair and maintenance and the replacement is needed for the safety of drivers and the economic vitality of the Outer Banks.  “We appreciate the efforts of all parties to agree on a viable solution that best serves the people and interests of North Carolina,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “The settlement agreement will allow NCDOT to provide a safe and reliable bridge for thousands of residents who rely on this lifeline to get to work, school, and healthcare and for millions of visitors who travel to the Outer Banks every year.”  “We are pleased that NCDOT and its partner agencies will consider additional options for N.C. 12 that will provide safe, reliable transportation by avoiding the areas where erosion and washouts shut down the road in its current location.  This is a win-win for the Refuge and everyone who relies on N.C. 12,” said Julie Youngman, senior attorney with SELC, who represented the conservation groups. Under the settlement agreement, after certain tasks are complete including ceasing work on a 2.4-mile bridge within the Refuge, the conservation groups will dismiss both federal and State Bonner Bridge-related lawsuits.  NCDOT will move forward with construction of a new bridge parallel to the existing Bonner Bridge and will study options for Pamlico Sound structures to address the Mirlo Beach area and the Pea Island inlet created by Hurricane Irene.  NCDOT will complete this entire process collaboratively with the Merger Team, composed of state and federal resource and regulatory agencies. During the study period, NCDOT will implement interim measures on Pea Island to provide safe and reliable transportation through this area. In September 2014, NCDOT suspended construction on a permanent Pea Island Bridge as part of the settlement process. *** NCDOT ***
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