NCDOT Press Release March 8, 2019
NCDOT Obtains Federal Approval for Mid-Currituck Bridge
RALEIGH – The Record of Decision was received from the Federal Highway Administration for the Mid-Currituck Bridge, indicating federal approval of the connection between the North Carolina communities of Aydlett on the mainland, and Corolla on the Outer Banks.
“This is a major milestone in delivering this project, that the local communities requested,” said Chris Werner, Acting Executive Director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. “The Mid-Currituck Bridge will provide much-needed transportation improvements for hurricane evacuation clearance times and connectivity to the Outer Banks.”
Need for an east-west crossing of the Currituck Sound was first identified in 1975 and formal planning began in 1995 by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The Turnpike Authority became involved in the project in 2006 when local leaders considered funding the project with toll revenue.
The Mid-Currituck Bridge will provide an additional evacuation route to an area of the state frequented by hurricanes. Currently, hurricane evacuation clearance times fail to meet the state designated standards of 18 hours. The 40-mile shortcut is expected to provide a travel time savings of about two hours one-way during peak travel periods.
“This is an important project for everyone who lives on or visits the Outer Banks,” said Dan Scanlon, Currituck County Manager. “It is encouraging to see the state reach this milestone after years of hard work from so many people.”
The Record of Decision allows NCDOT and the Turnpike Authority to move the project forward and begin acquiring land needed for the project’s right of way, to obtain environmental permits and advance construction plans. The project is in northeastern North Carolina and will include a new 4.7-mile, two-lane toll bridge across the Currituck Sound and a 1.5-mile long bridge across the Maple Swamp, as part of the mainland approach road. The project also includes improvements to N.C. 12 and minor enhancements to the Wright Memorial Bridge, aiding in hurricane evacuation.
The Town Council continues to strongly support the construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge. The latest Town Council resolution in support of the construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge can be found here.
NC Department of Transportation describes the Mid-Currituck Bridge Project as follows:
“The only highway crossing of the Currituck Sound along the North Carolina coast is the Wright Memorial Bridge on U.S. 158 at the southern end of Currituck County into Dare County.
The single crossing can mean increased congestion- especially during the summer- on U.S. 158 as well as N.C. 12, resulting in increased travel times between the mainland and the Outer Banks. Hurricane evacuation clearance times for those using U.S. 158 and N.C. 168 also far exceed the state-designated standard of 18 hours.
The Mid-Currituck Bridge project would create a second crossing of the sound- north of the Wright Memorial Bridge- to help alleviate congestion and improve the flow of evacuation traffic in the event of a hurricane or severe storm.
It would also provide easier access between the Outer Banks and Virginia, as well as other communities in northeastern North Carolina.
The 7-mile toll project includes a two-lane bridge that spans the Currituck Sound and connects the Currituck County mainland to the Outer Banks. It also includes a second tow-lane bridge that spans Maple Swamp on the Currituck County mainland, connecting Aydlett to U.S. 158.
The project has an overall estimated cost of $440 million. A portion of the funding is expected to come from bonds that will be paid back with toll revenue. The remainder of the funding is expected to come from a combination of state and federal transportation tax revenues. After taking into account funding from toll revenue, the project has an estimated cost of $173 million to NCDOT.
There is no estimated toll rate at this time.”
Think Currituck blog post December 5, 2017– Sounding Off About the Mid-Currituck Bridge
Currently the project has been approved for inclusion in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvements Program (STIP), and now, work toward a Record of Decision (ROD) is underway. Updates from NCDOT on the Mid-Currituck Bridge project can be found here.
While the wait continues for the Record of Decision (ROD) on the Mid-Currituck Bridge, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), along with the group calling itself “No Mid-Currituck Bridge” and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation have stepped up their efforts to derail the project. The ROD would conclude the environmental studies process and advance the project toward a yet to be determined construction date.
On April 5, 2017, the SELC, represented by Kym Hunter, presented a report (shown below) prepared by Walter Kulash, a transportation planning consultant, to the Town Council. The report (large file) was presented on behalf of the above-mentioned organizations and purports to be effective, less invasive and cheaper alternatives to the Mid-Currituck Bridge. Among other items, recommendations in the report include: widening NC 12 to three lanes up to the Currituck County line, but not including NC 12 in the Currituck Outer Banks; replacing existing traffic lights in Southern Shores to one-lane roundabouts that would be manned during peak traffic; developing a plan for connecting side streets to NC 12; consolidating drive-ways on NC 12; and adding hybrid beacon pedestrian signals (stoplights at crosswalks) at selected non-intersection pedestrian crossings.
While open to meaningful dialogue that would improve the movement of traffic throughout the Outer Banks, the Town Council continues to support the construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge. This support was reaffirmed by the adoption of a resolution at its March 1, 2017, Regular Meeting. This resolution has been provided to U.S. Senators Burr and Tillis and Congressman Jones as well as North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, N.C. Senator Cook, N.C. Representative Boswell, members of the N.C. House and Senate Transportation Committee and NCDOT Secretary Trogden. Click each name to view the corresponding letter.
Show Your Support for the Mid-Currituck Bridge Project
It is important that decision makers continue to hear from individuals regarding the Mid-Currituck Bridge. A list of contacts to send comments regarding the Mid-Currituck Bridge can be found here.