June 15, 2015-Outer Banks, NC
The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced today that state and federal agencies have come to an agreement with environmental groups over construction of a span parallel to the 50-year-old Bonner Bridge.
Terms of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association include stopping construction of a permanent bridge over the inlet formed by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Instead, the NCDOT has agreed to plan for bypassing the inlet in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and another problem area, Mirlo Beach, with â€œstructuresâ€ on the Pamlico Sound.
â€œUnder the agreement, NCDOT will also consider options that would move vulnerable portions of N.C. Highway 12 out of the southern half of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and into Pamlico Sound. The Bonner Bridge is in frequent need of repair and maintenance and the replacement is needed for the safety of drivers and the economic vitality of the Outer Banks,â€ a NCDOT statement said.