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Oregon Inlet May Close

A Coast Guard captain said Friday that he is prepared to close Oregon Inlet, North Carolina to recreational and commercial boat traffic within weeks if sand continues to accumulate in the dynamic waterway faster than dredging can remove it, the Virginian-Pilot reported.

The shoaling around the Bonner Bridge has increased exponentially, elevating the navigational risks to dangerous levels. Capt. Anthony Popiel said safety is his main concern in deciding whether to close the inlet or implement restrictions, according the the Virginian-Pilot article.

"It seems like it could be as soon as the next couple of weeks," he said.

An extended closure of Oregon Inlet could seriously affect the Outer Banks' fishing and boating industries, estimated in a 2006 Dare County report to annually produce more than $682 million and support 9,851 jobs. The inlet is the only route to the Atlantic Ocean between Hampton Roads and Hatteras Inlet.

Cut and past this link to view the entire story: http://hamptonroads.com/2011/03/coast-guard-considers-shutting-down-oregon-inlet

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