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Lawsuit An Option To Stop Proposed Bridge

An attorney for the environmental group opposing construction of the proposed mid-Currituck bridge said a lawsuit is an option to block it, the Daily Advance of Elizabeth City reported Monday.

Kym Hunter, an attorney in the Chapel Hill office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, said recently that it isn’t off the table and local officials agree.

During a recent meeting of the Currituck Chamber of Commerce’s Governmental Affairs Committee, Chamber President Josh Bass said he believes the Southern Environmental Law Center will file suit to stop the bridge project.

Allen Moran, new North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 1 board member, was asked about Bass’ assertion. He, too, thinks the SELC lawsuit on the bridge project is likely.

NCDOT’s statewide master plan calls for a proposed 7-mile, tolled crossing over the Currituck Sound between Aydlett and Corolla. The estimated the cost of the project is $489 million and the final step in the environmental study for the project is expected by April 2018.

Hunter said any decision about whether there will be a lawsuit on the bridge project will depend on whether NCDOT complies with the law, which will be determined once the environmental documents have been completed.

Asked what laws specifically the department needs to follow, Hunter said they include the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act and the Coastal Management Act.

Hunter said her organization has encouraged the NCDOT to take a second look at non-bridge alternatives, particularly since so much has changed over the past five years when a previous environmental document on the bridge project was prepared. She said those changes include increased costs and changing traffic forecasts.

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The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.