40 Years Since Project Was First Discussed
If recent reports are accurate, the Mid Currituck Bridge may be back on track. The long-planned but always delayed project is seen as the best alternative to reduce weekend traffic woes during the Outer Banks summer season.
The project was first envisioned in 1978, but NCDOT planning for the bridge did not begin until the 1990s. Plans call for a 6 mile two lane toll bridge spanning the Currituck Sound at Aydlett on the mainland, connecting with the Currituck Banks just south of Great Beach Pond about a mile south of Corolla Village.
The project’s website indicates a Record of Decision will be issued in late summer or fall of 2018. Since there is very little time left in the summer, fall seems most likely and thetas what is being reported.
The Record of Decision of decision outlines the scope of the project and is needed to award contracts. It typically takes 15-18 months to negotiate contracts, so reasonably construction would begin in 2020. The NCDOT timetable has always seen the Mid Currituck Bridge as a four year project, so a 2024 opening is the prediction.
That timetable aligns with the reporting that we’re seeing.
However, there are a number of cautionary notes that have to accompany this.
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has voiced concerns about the project and has funded a study that suggests there are less expensive alternatives to spending $489 million that would result in significant improvements in traffic delays.
Although the bridge is seen as a means to reduce traffic woes, its primary purpose is to allow faster evacuation times if an evacuation is needed. According to the SELC, their plan would also reduce evacuation times.
To date, the SELC has not stated that they will sue to stop the Mid Currituck Bridge. If a lawsuit is filed, though, it would not be filed until the Record of Decision is issued, and typically not until the end of the comment period for it.
If a lawsuit is filed, it’s difficult to know when the project will move forward.
Great weather and a beach to yourself…fall is the perfect time to visit Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and the Outer Banks.