The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has challenged the approval for the $500 Mid Currituck Bridge.
The bridge, which has been discussed or in the planning stages since 1978, is closer than it has ever been to construction with the NCDOT March Record of Decision approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
Why Is SELC Suing?
The SELC is representing a number of groups. Included in the litigants the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, hunters, fishermen and a local group NoMCD who is opposed to the bridge.
The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh on April 23. According to the court filing, the bridge is an unnecessary expenditure that will cause significant damage to the environment. The suit also takes NCDOT to task for failing to hold any public hearings on the Environmental Impact Statement since 2012.
However, the Environmental Impact Statement is based on a 2012 EIS that was issued prior to what was hoped would be a Record of Decision. Although there were no public hearings, NCDOT did solicit public input for the updated EIS.
There are a number of design features to the bridge that were put into place because of environmental concerns.
Currituck County Commissioners were quick to issue a rebuttal to the SELC lawsuit.
“This bridge has been in the works for more than three decades and is vital to the continued health of our economy and changing demands of our guests and residents,” Bob White, Chairman of the Currituck County Board of Commissioners, said.
The 4.7-mile toll bridge is intended to alleviate the summer weekend traffic jams that have plagued the Outer Banks. Its purpose, though, is to improve hurricane evacuation times should an evacuation be needed.
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