Letter: Critics wrongly holding up bridge

By Robert D. Palombo

The Daily Advance

2 Comments | Leave a Comment

Have you or your family and friends driven to the Outer Banks on a summer weekend and waited in traffic for many hours as you attempt to reach your destinations in Dare County or the Currituck Outer Banks? Have any of you waited in line for several hours to evacuate following the notice of an imminent hurricane?

The Currituck County Board of Commissioners has been trying to get a Mid-Currituck Bridge built for more than 20 years to alleviate this traffic nightmare. Resolutions of support for this bridge have been received from all surrounding counties because they realize the economic benefit it would bring.

In total support of the Currituck commissioners, a nonprofit organization, Build the Bridge-Preserve Our Roads, Inc., comprised of representatives from Currituck County and the towns of Duck and Southern Shores in Dare County, has been working tirelessly for more than 10 years to get a mid-county bridge built in order to reduce the travel time to the Outer Banks on summer weekends and, most importantly, to provide more than one access/exit from the northern Outer Banks during hurricane evacuations. This bridge is not being addressed with the urgency that it deserves.

In 2012, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Turnpike Authority received a final Environmental Impact Statement for construction of the bridge, and now they are awaiting the Record of Decision which will allow construction decisions to be made. Unfortunately for those who want to relieve the congestion and provide another means of access to the Outer Banks, the construction of this bridge is being challenged by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

In a letter sent to the NCDOT Turnpike Authority, the SELC included a number of incorrect and misleading statements regarding public support, environmental issues and alternative solutions to the bridge. Most conclusions reached by the SELC are without factual basis on environmental, engineering or economic issues, and the SELC ignores the substantial work and reports already in Turnpike Authority records.

BBPR, through their board of directors, has addressed several of the major items of misinformation in the SELC letter. BBPR’s specific response takes up much more space than this letter to the editor allows. To find out more, check our website, buildthebridge.org, to review the response and to learn more about BBPR.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge is needed to address the access and exit concerns that the thousands of visitors to the Outer Banks have had for more than 20 years. No more studies are needed; just build the bridge now!

ROBERT D. PALOMBO

Southern Shores

The author is secretary of the group, Build the Bridge-Preserve Our Roads, Inc.

Comments

No Money

With the current situaion in Hatteras and Ocracoke I believe those people deserve at least 1 reliable way on and off their Islands, nevermind the huge amount of money this bridge will cost N.C. for the next 40 years. That money needs to be put to use where the greatest needs are. There has never been a problem with evacuation of the northern Outer Banks even when Hurricane Irene tore through here with a 7 foot storm surge. The writer should be addressing the 158/NC 12 intersection that requires both north and south bound lanes on 158 to stop at a light for people traveling to Southern Shores and north. That project would cost less than 1 year of gap funding for the MCB and would keep traffic moving. The real estate companies need to spread out the times the masses arrive. Those 2 things alone WITHOUT an expensive, environmentally damaging bridge which many residents of Aydlett, Corolla, the 4 wheel drive area, and yes, even Southern Shores and Duck oppose. The bridge project went away along with Marc Basnight. Now David Joyner who resently resigned from the Turnpike Authority, tell us in an article in the Toll Road News that there is a huge difference between the cost estimates by the NCDOT and the Developers. Enough is enough!

Keep Your Bridge.

How about you widen your roads before putting the bridge in my backyard? Even with a bridge traffic will still back-up through Southern Shores. By widening the roads through Southern Shores and Duck, you could greatly increase capacity. We know your plan. Let's back up traffic in Coinjock and Corolla. As long as it's not here. Keep your bridge!

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