The Swan Quarter-Ocracoke ferry route is returning to a normal schedule because officials the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry alternate route is starting.
Officials with the state Transportation Department say the alternate route will start Friday.
The alternate channel is about 11 miles long and will take at least an hour to cross one-way compared to the 40 minutes that the primary ferry route takes. Final testing was under way Thursday on the route to make sure it's safe.
Shoaling in the Hatteras Inlet channel has been an ongoing issue, but Hurricane Sandy and other storms worsened the problem. Ocracoke has had no ferry service to Hatteras since mid-January.
The alternate route is a temporary solution until dredging is completed on the primary route.