Southern Environmental Law Center, local groups oppose Mid-Currituck bridge

The Currituck Sound. [Photo courtesy SELC, copyright Bill Sublette]

While the federal government has given its blessing to a new bridge from the mainland to Corolla, others are questioning the decision.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, which has partnered with local groups opposing the Mid-Currituck Bridge, reiterated Monday the 7-mile-long toll bridge is unnecessary because of NCDOT data on traffic counts, and ignores alternative solutions.

Among those alternatives? Widening N.C. 12 through Southern Shores and Duck to three lanes, traffic circles instead of stop lights, and building a flyover interchange with U.S. 158 in Kitty Hawk.

Opposition groups also say the bridge will cost more than a half-billion dollars, rather than the estimated $440 million estimated by NCDOT, and that there has been no public input on the proposal since 2012.

“Approval of this expensive bridge is particularly disappointing in light of Governor Cooper’s recent statements and executive order noting the importance of resiliency in the face of climate change,” said SELC Attorney Kym Hunter. “Not only will this bridge encourage more development in a stretch of North Carolina that will soon be underwater, but it diverts funding away from other needed road improvements in coastal North Carolina that are increasingly vulnerable to flooding.”

Legal challenges are expected against the Mid-Currituck Bridge, which has been proposed for more than four decades.