Anyone who's ever taken on a major home repair project knows this version of Murphy's Law: "It will take longer than you think, and will cost more than you planned." That's unfortunately the situation at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, where restoration of the Bodie Island Lighthouse has hit a serious snag.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse, located south of Nags Head just off of NC Highway 12, has been the subject of a massive restoration project since December 2009. According to information released from the park last week, "Significant and major restoration work was accomplished this past year to protect this iconic beacon, but, as is often the case with other restoration projects involving aging, historic structures, unforeseen issues arose that have complicated the full completion of the restoration work."
Unexpected problems were discovered during the work last summer. According to the park spokesman, "While removing layers of paint and corrosion, the NPS contractor discovered significant structural integrity issues associated with the support structures under the balcony. A structural assessment has been completed to determine the seriousness and full extent of those findings, which included problems with framing, lantern beam supports, masonry and stitching, and steel drum and belt course segments located at the top of the lighthouse."
Efforts are underway to obtain the additional funding needed to resolve these issues. Work in the lighthouse will end this spring and the facility will be secured until funding is obtained.
The Bodie Island Visitor Center, located in the historic lighthouse's Keepers' Quarters building, remains open, along with the marsh boardwalk in the area. The visitor center has exhibits on the history of the Bodie Island Lighthouse history and an Eastern National bookstore.
The lighthouse has long been a popular landmark for park visitors; it was featured as the "Photo of the Week" on the Traveler in June 2010.