News | July 29, 2011

Groups challenge plan to build a new bridge without addressing reliable & safe access

The aging bridge to North Carolina’s Hatteras Island should be replaced, and soon, but the route must be safe and reliable. SELC and its partners are challenging the state’s decision to put the span on a hazardous path. Read the complaint here.

The route chosen by the North Carolina Department of Transportation would parallel the current bridge and would make landfall on the unstable northern tip of the barrier island. At that location, the new section of highway (like the current highway) would face the constant threat of shoreline erosion and storm overwash. Moreover, the continual maintenance needed to keep the roadway accessible would endanger habitat for migratory birds and other species in the surrounding Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

“Visitors and residents deserve safe and reliable access to Hatteras Island,” said SELC senior attorney Julie Youngman. “This bridge is simply not a viable or legal solution, and it would undermine the ecological integrity of the fragile wildlife refuge and the sea turtles and birds for which it was created.”

SELC and other conservation groups have long called for the consideration of safer bridge replacement alternatives, including a route that would bypass the ever-shifting tip of the barrier island.