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Environmental group will not appeal Mid-Currituck Bridge ruling

mid-currituck bridge

An environmental group says it will not appeal a court ruling over plans to build a toll bridge on the Outer Banks.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge would connect US 158 with the town of Corolla. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says the seven-mile span would alleviate summertime congestion, improve hurricane evacuations, and make it easier for visitors from northern states to reach the Outer Banks.

The Southern Environmental Law Center sued to stop the project. It argued the bridge would damage wildlife habitats and lead to increased development in an area that's vulnerable to rising seas.

"In addition to failing to assess the project’s full impacts on the area and life, the litigation asserts that NCDOT’s analysis failed to consider more sensible and less harmful alternatives, such as improvements to existing roads and bridges. The litigation also contends that NCDOT failed to consider up-to-date projections of sea level rise from climate change," the SELC said.

In February, the4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with NCDOT, paving the way for the project to proceed.

The next step for opponents would be to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. An SELC spokesperson said the group will not do that, though it may challenge environmental permits for the project in the future.

In addition to the permits, NCDOT will need to find funding for the $500 million bridge to proceed.

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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