Southern Shores Council mulls ways to push Mid-Currituck Bridge project

By on January 5, 2022

After being briefed by town attorney Ben Gallop on the lawsuit to block construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge, the Southern Shores Town Council decided at its Jan. 5 meeting to take some short-term steps to try and push the project along.

On Dec. 13, Judge Louise Wood Flanagan of the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled against the Southern Environmental Law Center’s (SELC) case against the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) for its efforts to build a five-mile toll bridge to Currituck County’s Outer Banks from the mainland at Adylett.

The SELC suit was filed on behalf of the N.C. Wildlife Federation and a group called No Mid-Currituck Bridge, which is comprised of local residents on the mainland and Outer Banks who are opposed to the bridge. The suit focused on compliance with the federal Environmental Policy Act and its mandates for environmental integrity.

SELC attorney Kym Hunter has said the Dec. 13 ruling will be appealed. The SELC has until Feb. 11 to file an appeal unless it asks for an extension. For now, all parties are in a holding pattern.

In the meantime, NCDOT has removed the money for its share of the project until issues are resolved. NCDOT District Engineer Sterling Baker sent a letter late last year to notify Currituck County that funds that amount to $20 million over a two-year period to be used for environmental studies and right of way acquisitions will be returned to the district budget when the situation is resolved.

Many of those in the northern Dare County towns such as Southern Shores and Duck view the Mid-Currituck Bridge as a potential remedy for overflow summer traffic that disrupts local neighborhoods.

In his Jan. 5 discussion with the council members, Gallop said the Town of Southern Shores could intervene in the case by filing an Amicus brief.

“There are about 78,000 pages in the record so there is a lot of reading time and expense. It might take a specialized firm to handle this,” he said.

After the Dec. 13 ruling is appealed, the time to get it heard by an Appeals Court can be long, said Gallop. It could take a minimum of six months, but more likely one-and-a-half to two years for the court to issue an opinion.

New Council Member Paula Sherlock declared that the council needs to make noise and talk to Duck. “Having two towns would help with money,” she said.

By consensus, the council identified a three-prong approach.

Mayor Elizabeth Morey will invite NCDOT Representative Allen Moran to lunch to discuss the issue and then follow up with a letter.

The Duck Town Council will be approached to see how the two towns can work together and if the town is willing to help pay for an Amicus brief to be filed.

And the third element will be to contact the Albemarle Regional Planning Board and request the issue be added to an upcoming agenda.



  • Greg

    I am disappointed with SELC. They are not taking into account the air pollution and carbon emissions associated with the 40-50 mile around your elbow route to Corolla. Much of it being driven at slow speed which means very low miles per gallon. The noise, congestion and safety issues are also a big concern for residents of Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck.
    There is still no letup in increasing the occupancy levels on The Currituck Beaches. The Mid Currituck Bridge should have been built 20 years ago. This is one of the biggest transportation debacles on the Southeast Coast.

    Wednesday, Jan 5 @ 5:46 pm
  • MikeP

    Y’all new around here?
    Count how many years SELC held up replacing the Bonner bridge..Is ole Derb Carter still around?
    Anyway, save yourself a ton of grief and accept the fact that it’s going to be a long time before you see a bridge.
    Spend the money on your community instead of waisting the money on more lawyers. SELC exists to litigate and litigates to exist and unfortunately this won’t end soon.


    Wednesday, Jan 5 @ 7:48 pm
  • lippy

    Southern Shores and Duck should combine efforts, along with it’s residents, to pressure our representatives to tie any future construction in Corolla to the building of that bridge. The greed of these builders is astounding to continue to build and knowingly increase the traffic burdens and negatively impact the quality of life of northeastern OBXers.

    Thursday, Jan 6 @ 9:26 am
  • WindyBill

    Lived here 44 years. Saw the Bonner Bridge (Oregon Inlet) replacement fiasco from near the beginning. The final result proved that SELC, under the guise of Environmental Protection (stand up and salute) SELC litigates to line its own pocket. I do consider myself an environmentalist. They are damn good at it. Next, since Corolla rents everything to capacity, what benefit is there to NC $ to pay for this bridge? Next, do you really think NC doesn’t have uses for that $ that can benefit thousands more people than 12 summer weekends? Think about on your own and don’t simply echo others.

    Thursday, Jan 6 @ 1:24 pm
  • Stuck in traffic

    Duck is the issue. You actually have to get in the traffic on the summertime weekends to know that. Not at a desk in Raleigh.
    Work on different traffic scenarios on the weekends. Open up two lanes in duck. Have cops direct traffic for a few hours. ( kinda like a hurricane evac)
    It’s only a few bad weekends. We don’t really need a permanent bridge for a temporary problem!
    Then Duck and Southern Shores can work tomorrow on that. Your still going to have to come up with some kind of traffic scenario. It will take them five years to build the new pipeline for people.
    Won’t too anything for weekly rain traffic. Cause they ain’t going back to Currituck. All the shopping is over here. So they go north south not west!

    My fingers are crossed they never build that nightmare! You people want bridges, move to Fl

    Thursday, Jan 6 @ 7:12 pm
  • DuckRes

    Duck is the issue. A few bad weekends. LOL. Obviously written by someone who doesn’t live here. Traffic is often backed up to Grandy, but Duck is the problem? Plus, Southern Shores has as many pedestrian crossing as Duck. The bridge is the only fix for the crazy traffic funnel/bottleneck. It’s both an environmental & safety problem with massive amounts of unnecessary miles driven to get to Corolla/Corova. South Poverty Law Center could care less about the environment. They know they will eventually lose, but they file these frivolous suits as their primary means to continued fund raising.

    Friday, Jan 7 @ 6:22 pm
  • DrRobBob

    I just wanted to compliment the author of the article (Sandy S. Ross) who accurately reported what was said at the Southern Shores meeting. I was at the meeting and here reporting is spot on.

    Saturday, Jan 8 @ 9:41 am
  • Sean Mulligan

    The problem is definitely Duck and yes I live here because once you get through Duck heading North suddenly the traffic moves steady.I agree with Stuck in Traffic there are solutions but it will take some common sense solutions from the local governments and there lies the problem.

    Saturday, Jan 8 @ 10:29 am
  • Stuck in traffic

    So nobody in that traffic rents in southern shores or duck?
    Why move your issues to Corolla?
    Why use tax money so that outta state workers can take my job?
    Why should your traffic cut through Corolla?

    And yeah I live here. I was born here in 1968. Lived on both sides of the issue (Duck), over the years.
    I also work and move around on the weekends and during the week.
    It takes a little planning.
    If you’re boat was sinking, you wouldn’t poke another hole in it. Would you?

    Saturday, Jan 8 @ 11:47 am
  • JS

    The solution is a causeway bridge just like the Jug Handle bridge down south. Build it right around Southern Shores and Duck. If they want it so bad putting it in their backyard should make it easier to get.

    Monday, Jan 10 @ 8:40 am
  • Chris Corso

    I hope the city council keeps pushing hard to get this bridge built. It is so so much overdue. One should just go on top of the Currituck lighthouse and look down at the amazing amount of houses in the area. You don’t realize this when you just drive through the area. It is like a small city, and to think all these people have to drive all the way to Kitty Hawk to get out of there. Crazy. I also think the toll that is planned is way too much, but hopefully that will be resolved once it is built. Good luck and do what has to be done to get this bridge built ASAP.

    Friday, Jan 14 @ 8:47 am
  • Paul Diver

    Necessary is an understatement . For the old timers and originals i can understand not wanting change but this is a life enabling change . Fingers crossed that at no point a hurricane or Northeaster decides to sit on the Northern half of this island for any length of time . Anybody who has been stuck in those traffic lines can attest how frustrating it is just going for some milk or prescriptions . With one way in and out people will be hurt and or die ….is that what it will take ? The environment will take care of herself once the bridge is built , look at the Rodanthe or Oregon Inlet bridge’s effects so far , the ease that main landers would have to come and utilize island business’s would be a real benefit for the island but safety for it’s people should be the number 1 reason the bridge is built .

    Saturday, Jan 15 @ 8:31 am
  • Susan Myers

    Our family has been a Corolla home owner since the early 80s. It is a rental property and has brought in an amazing amount of tax dollars to Currituck County. I agree with the above comment: ‘Safety is the number one reason the bridge should be built’. I would recommend that all local Currituck & Dare County full-time residents be given a free pass to use the bridge; and that a toll should be charged to all non-full-time residents. I’m afraid that the real reason locals do not want the bridge, they will lose the retail revenue from those who take the proposed northern bridge. This is very short sighted. Business will build up on either end of the proposed new bridge, which will help job opportunities and increase tax revenue for Currituck and Dare Counties. With the amount of money that has already been spent on legal expenses and ‘studying’ the proposed bridge, the darn thing could have been built! Let’s get our heads out fo the sand and get this bridge built to build a better, safer future for the OBX!

    Sunday, Jan 16 @ 11:26 am
  • Beachiekeen

    Careful what you wish for
    bridge or not if congestion remedies in Duck and lack of “safety” fire lane along 12N is not part of the project – then bridge will not provide a comprehensive solution. Especially if local residents and necessary workers do not get free passes.
    Without a “plan” that considers both Dare and Currituck communities there’s potential loss of revenue for small businesses south of the bridge and on the mainland… and state when folk gas up in Virginia.

    Monday, Jan 17 @ 10:23 am
  • Wayne E Myers

    I totally agree that the bridge should be built without delay. The coastlines are facing the promise of rising water levels and safely leaving the area in case of emergencies is absolutely necessary.

    Monday, Jan 17 @ 4:34 pm
  • Sandra

    If no one thinks this bridge would benefit anyone they should try to drive across the bridge and go to duck or Carolla on a weekend to see the thousands of vehicles on the road all this traffic would make pollution worse sitting there waiting to get in and out. It will take over an hour from duck on a good day at 5-10 miles an hour. Build the bridge traffic will be much better

    Thursday, Jan 20 @ 10:29 am
  • Greg

    I find it astonishing that an organization that champions a clean environment can be against a bridge that would reduce air pollution and carbon emissions as well as decrease highway noise and improve safety. The round trip required from the point in Mainland Currituck where the bridge would be to Corolla is 100 miles. For a good part of that trip the Summer weekend traffic is moving at less than 20mph and running the AC. What would be the MPG in that scenario? This slow moving traffic is polluting the air in Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores and Duck as it crawls along. SELC for all of the good it does is inexplicably far off base on this.

    Sunday, Jan 23 @ 9:52 am