Currituck commissioners support $500M bridge project amid lawsuit

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CURRITUCK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY/AP) — The Currituck County Board of Commissioners says it is continuing to support a proposed a $500 million bridge project despite a recent lawsuit.

County commissioners issued a release Thursday following news of a lawsuit from local residents, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts that challenges state and federal approval of the Mid-Currituck Bridge.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, argues the project would lead to growth in undisturbed areas along the northern Outer Banks.

An attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center says the Federal Highway Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation have failed to consider less damaging and less expensive alternatives.

Currituck’s commissioners say the new bridge will “improve connectivity, increase public safety, and provide numerous benefits” for tourism and the economy.

“This bridge has been in the works for more than three decades and is vital to the continued health of our economy and changing demands of our guests and residents,”  said Bob White, the board’s chairman, said in a statement.

Commissioners say they are “committed to preserving” the county’s rich history of hunting and fishing.

The board says widening U.S. 158 and North Carolina Highway 12 would require a “lengthy and very expensive program to obtain the necessary properties required” to allow for the project.

State officials said in March that the Federal Highway Administration had granted its record of decision for the 4.7-mile , two-lane toll bridge. It would connect the community of Aydlett on the mainland and Corolla on the northeastern Outer Banks.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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