Hatteras Island remained off-limits to tourists yesterday, and that economic concern was uppermost in the minds of residents dealing with shortages of power and fuel after last week's bridge collapse.
"If we don't get some influx of tourist trade in the coming weeks, it could be devastating to many of us," said Frank Folb, owner of a tackle shop in Avon, N.C.
Residents are in early stages of recovering from Friday's collapse of a 370-foot segment of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, the only road linking Hatteras to the North Carolina mainland. Part of the two-lane bridge toppled into Oregon Inlet when struck by a dredge being tossed by high winds.
"It's not every day we have a boat go through our bridge," said Ray Couch of Red Drum Texaco in Buxton. "But we're used to storms and we have local provisions among the citizenry to take care of such situations. Most of us have our own standby power or candles, kerosene lamps and kerosene heaters."
Electricity was restored for some Hatteras Island residents in alternating six-hour periods yesterday, and crews worked on docks for ferries to cross Oregon Inlet. Those ferries could be in use in another week, but repairs to open even one lane of the bridge could take 1 1/2 to three months.
Gasoline is in short supply, with many stations limiting purchases to $5. An emergency shipment of unleaded regular was expected, Couch said.
Food is not in short supply since the collapse, said Mike Elliott, manager of the lone Food Lion supermarket on the island. Four tractor-trailer loads of grocery items have been delivered to Hatteras since Friday.
Lines that had included 300 vehicles awaiting ferries on Ocracoke Island Monday were down to 50 yesterday.