The news about the Mid Currituck Bridge is not encouraging–at all. Almost to the finish line just three years ago and within months of beginning construction, the most recent information puts the entire project in doubt.
Conceived as a means to alleviate the hours long weekend traffic jams on summer weekends and fascilitate evacuation from the Outer Banks should it be needed, the bridge was also seen as an employment boon to regional communities, Allowing quicker access to the booming summer time economy of Corolla would create job opportunities throughout northeastern North Carolina.
Last year the NC State Legislature passed the Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) Law requiring NCDOT to evaluate all state highway projects based on a series of criteria. The highest possible score is 100; the MCB came in at 23.4, putting it 178th on the list.
The first rankings are preliminary and it is possible that the project will move up in the rankings as more data and input becomes available, but the first read is discouraging. Public hearings and additional information will be used to complete the ranking in 2015.
The MCB was first conceived in a doctoral project presented to the Currituck County Commissioners in 1978 and has been part of NCDOTâåÛåªs project planning since the 1980âåÛåªs. The price tag has varied from $60-610 million. The current price tag is put at a little over $400 million.
The last plan that the state pulled out from at the last moment was a public/private partnership with the public partner footing most of the construction costs.