More delay for Mid-Currituck Bridge

By on May 5, 2021

Southern Shores Council gets a briefing

For those hoping for tangible progress on the long-awaited Mid-Currituck Bridge, there wasn’t much good news in the presentation from Project Manager Jennifer Harris and North Carolina Turnpike Authority Chief Engineer Rodger Rochelle at the May 4 Southern Shores Town Council meeting.

The bridge, a 4.7-mile span that will cross the Currituck Sound connecting Aydlett on the mainland with Corolla, has been in the planning stage or under discussion for over 20 years. The bridge is part of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority and will be a toll road when and if it is completed.

With a lawsuit from the SELC still unresolved, Rochelle said the start date for bridge construction has been pushed back with the actual construction phase not likely to start until late 2023.

The construction of the bridge is seen by residents of Southern Shores as a long-sought remedy to the summer seasonal traffic that can choke their streets and neighborhoods.

“My concern is that every year that goes by and this doesn’t happen, is one more year we deal with three months of really intense weekend traffic,” Southern Shores Mayor Tom Bennett told the Voice in an interview. “The meeting…was kind of what I expected,” he added, commenting on the bridge presentation to the council. “It was people who are trying to make it happen and doing the best they can. But their hands are tied because of the lawsuit.”

Rochelle began the discussion by pointing to lawsuit challenging the Record of Decision that the SELC filed on behalf of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and “No Mid-Currituck Bridge,” a group of local citizens opposed to the bridge.

There is no court date scheduled at this time for the lawsuit, according to Kym Hunter, Senior Attorney for the SELC, although legal briefs in the matter are being filed. The SELC filed its brief on April 30. According to Hunter the state’s brief is due by the end of the month. After that there will be a wait for a court date to be scheduled.

“There could be a hearing. This judge usually takes a while to decide these cases,” Hunter said. “I would be surprised if it took her another six months after that.”

In the meantime, there has been some regulatory progress made, according to Project Manager Harris. “We’ve gotten what they call a preliminary navigation clearance determination,” she said. “We should have at least twenty feet of clearance above mean high water and at least forty feet of clearance through the main navigation span of the bridge.”

Because the bridge spans a navigable waterway, it cannot be built without Coast Guard approval. However there are number of other permits that will be needed for the project to move forward. Permitting agencies include NC Department of Water Quality, the US Corps of Engineers, US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries. SELC’s Hunter said that to her knowledge, the permitting process has not yet begun.


  • Dan

    The Southern Shores Town council should not depend on other agencies to solve their problems. They refuse to do anything about the unsafe traffic conditions in town all summer, not just the weekends. It simply isn’t safe to be a pedestrian on the cut through streets. The town needs to make these streets one way headed south or add culdesacs in the middle of the streets so they are no longer cut throughs. Forget beach nourishment, if they want to improve quality of life for PEOPLE THAT ACTUALLY LIVE THERE YEAR ROUND they should fix the traffic problem instead of giving hand outs to rich out of town oceanfront home owners.

    Wednesday, May 5 @ 3:46 pm
  • Kevin Hay

    This bridge will help multiple communities from a public safety standpoint. Ambulances, law enforcement and fire response will be greatly enhanced. Departure during hurricanes will be much easier.
    From an environmental perspective, who benefits from thousands of cars sitting in backed up traffic in Powell’s Point, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Duck? No one…all those idling cars increases pollution. Anyone who fishes knows the pilings for the bridge increases beneficial habitat for a number of species.
    Lastly, people could use the good paying jobs that this bridge construction will provide. Please drop your lawsuit and make thousands of people happy.

    Wednesday, May 5 @ 5:11 pm
  • Sean

    Its not the towns fault if there is anything that is unsafe about it its the people not the town. It wont change until people change.

    Thursday, May 6 @ 6:40 am
  • Surf123

    You do not build a bridge to solve a problem that occurs 12 or so weekends a year. The safety angle is standard fare for trying to crutch up justification for something that is of dubious value.

    The most obvious way to ease traffic is to add Friday’s as weekly rental. Other resort areas have this and it works.

    Friday, May 7 @ 3:58 pm
  • Spoonyrae

    A simple turning lane the length of NC 12 is needed wether or not a bridge is ever built, it would bring immediate relief.

    Saturday, May 8 @ 7:20 am
  • hightider

    2040 – the long awaited Currituck bridge has yet been delayed again.

    Saturday, May 8 @ 12:55 pm
  • WindyBill

    Fridays were tried for years by a good sized rental company. Most of the public did not like it. How about a 3rd eastbound lane from the bridge to milepost 2. Right Lane for Kitty Hawk and south; Left Lane for S.Shores and north; center for everybody. That will at least let people thru to Kitty Hawk and south faster. Evryone else can sit in line thinking nice things about Southern Shores. If Anyone thinks SELC will settle the new bridge lawsuit soon, they are very mistaken. Just like Oregon Inlet, SELC will continuously delay, continue, and refile until they are paid a large amount of money. How many Decades did the Oregon Inlet bridge take?

    Sunday, May 9 @ 5:52 pm