By The Voice on March 8, 2019
A Record of Decision has been received from the Federal Highway Administration for the Mid-Currituck Bridge, indicating federal approval of a span between 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.”
A 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 is billed as 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, according to the state.
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 project has an overall estimated cost of $440 million. Some of the funding is expected to come from bonds that will be paid back with toll revenue. The remainder 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 not an estimated toll rate at this time.
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.
It 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.
U.S. 158 across the Wright Memorial Bridge is the only access from the north and west to the Outer Banks.