NCDOT wins bridge legal challenge

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has defeated a legal challenge to its plans for the Mid-Currituck Bridge project.

Together with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), NCDOT had been defending its environmental analysis and decision document for the bridge scheme, following a challenge by the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of a group of environmental campaigners.

However, the US District Court for the Eastern District of NC has decided in favor of NCDOT and the FHWA, meaning that the scheme can now progress.

A final record of decision (ROD) for the Mid-Currituck Bridge was published in 2019, but the project has been delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. The ROD proposed the use of an alternative financing approach that will bring together toll revenue bonds, a Tifia loan, Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle bonds and state matching funds.

The scheme, which is expected to cost $491m, does not have an estimated toll rate at present. The current timeline suggests financing could be completed in 2024, with construction beginning the following year.