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Hurricane Irene opened gaps on NC 12 near the sites of ancient Hatteras Island inlets, and in locations where scientists have warned that more road breaches were likely. Gov. Bev Perdue says it will take time and money to fix it (see today's story).
Coastal research geologist Stanley R. Riggs of ECU warns that continued efforts to repair NC 12 and stabilize the island are serving only to weaken it. More storm breaches are inevitable, he says: "Somewhere between the next storm and the next decade or two, those islands are collapsing."
Motel owner Carol Dawson says it's up to the state to keep NC 12 open.