By Outer Banks Voice on June 23, 2022
On June 23, the Town of Southern Shores announced that it had filed an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief in the ongoing litigation over the Mid-Currituck Bridge on June 13. It is joined in that filing by the Town of Duck, Currituck County, Dare County Tourism Board, Duck Community and Business Alliance and Currituck Chamber of Commerce.
Last December, Judge Louise Wood Flanagan of the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled against the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) suit to stop the bridge project that advocates say will reduce serious summer traffic congestion in communities like Duck and Southern Shores.
That ruling however, came on the heels of a NCDOT announcement that the bridge would be delayed for two years due to the litigation – pushing the bridge build start date to at least 2025.
On Jan 31, 2022, the SELC filed an appeal asking that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to declare the NCDOT 2012 analysis prepared for the bridge “illegal and outdated.” On April 5, SELC filed its opening briefs with that court. And the Southern Shores Town Council formerly agreed on May 3 to join the legal fray by filing the Amicus Brief.
Here are excerpts from the June 23 Southern Shores statement.
In support of construction of the long delayed Mid-Currituck Bridge, the Southern Shores Town Council drew together a strong coalition of neighboring municipalities and interested local organizations and authorized its Town Attorney to file an Amicus Brief in the appellate case now blocking construction of the bridge. The Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) Brief was filed on June 13, 2022, in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and is the first and only filing by local communities impacted by the delay in construction of the bridge.
In addition to the appellees, Southern Shore’s efforts are supported by strong resolutions in support passed by local governments and business organizations, including Dare County, Chowan County, Perquimans County, Camden County, Pasquotank County, Town of Kills Devil Hills, Town of Nags Head, Town of Kitty Hawk, the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization, the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, and the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association.
Due to development on the northern beaches, the Town of Southern Shores has experienced a tremendous increase in the amount of traffic on its residential streets as summer vacationers attempt to take short cuts to Duck and Corolla. Summer traffic creates long backups and congestion on internal streets making it extremely difficult for residents to leave their driveways, as well as reducing the response time of emergency services. In addition, because Southern Shores residential streets are maintained by the town, the additional wear and tear by thousands of vehicles every summer weekend creates a financial burden for the town.
The Mid-Currituck Bridge will provide much-needed relief on Southern Shores streets by providing a second means of access to the northern Outer Banks and will also provide a much-needed evacuation route during storm events. “The Mid-Currituck Bridge is vital to improving the quality of life for our residents and visitors,” said Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey. “We feel as though this Amicus Brief will help strengthen and further acknowledge the efforts of the Town to finally see the bridge built.”