Fourth Circuit Court affirms earlier ruling in favor of Mid-Currituck Bridge project

By on February 23, 2023

In a Feb. 23 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a December 2021 U.S. District Court ruling against a Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) suit, thus paving the way for the Mid-Currituck project to move ahead. (Read the decision here: 221103.P.pdf (

The proposed five-mile toll bridge from Aydlett on the Currituck mainland to the Currituck Outer Banks, with an estimated $600 million price tag, is viewed by many in Dare County as a way to mitigate major summer traffic congestion problems in towns such as Southern Shores and Duck. Both of those towns—as well as Currituck County, Dare County Tourism Board, Duck Community and Business Alliance and the Currituck Chamber of Commerce—have filed Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) briefs in the case, supporting the construction of the bridge.

In a passage summing up its decision, the Fourth Circuit ruling stated that the “Plaintiffs—an environmental organization and a group of citizens opposed to the bridge—claim the defendants didn’t follow the procedures laid out in the National Environmental Policy Act…when they approved the bridge project. The district court disagreed and granted summary judgment for the defendants. We affirm.”

In a statement after the Feb. 23 ruling, the Town of Southern Shores responded that, “The Court of Appeals basically found that the Transportation Agencies did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act in approving the bridge project. This decision overcomes a huge hurdle and allows planning, design and permitting work to resume.”

In the statement, Southern Shores Mayor Elizabeth Morey added that “the Town wishes to express its appreciation for all those whose hard work paid off in advancing the construction of this much- needed infrastructure.”

An email to the Voice from Duck Public Information Officer Kay Nickens noted that, “The Town is pleased with this decision and looks forward to the future development of the mid-Currituck Bridge.”

The SELC suit against the bridge 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. After Judge Louise Wood Flanagan of the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled against the plaintiffs on Dec. 13, 2021, SELC appealed to the Fourth Circuit a little over a month later.

A release issued by SELC after the Feb. 23 ruling quoted senior attorney Kym Meyer stating that “North Carolina has many unmet transportation needs along its coast, but the Mid-Currituck Bridge is not one of them. We will continue to work to ensure that North Carolina money is not wasted on this costly, unwise project. There are much more affordable solutions to ease traffic in this area of the Outer Banks, and those solutions can be put in place much more swiftly, and with less damage to the Currituck Sound.”



  • Beachie keen

    Bridge or not is Currituck/Corolla prepared for the impact?
    And SS, Duck, Sanderling not your solution -folk will still congest the back roads and Duck will still congest Rt12
    As well the economic impact when the golden goosers bypass Dare small businesses
    BTW y’all do know the proposed bridge us 2 lanes 😊 traffic backup from an accident or breakdown and public/private whose responsible for maintenance or emergency response? Just askin

    Friday, Feb 24 @ 10:35 pm
  • Johnny B Good

    They should have built this bridge 20 years ago!

    Saturday, Feb 25 @ 7:17 am
  • Surf123

    The side effects of having that bridge will ruin the Currituck beaches. You will get speedy access along with more traffic, more crime, more undesirable retail stores, and more tourists and day trippers. Most people get focused on the benefit(s) and never consider adverse consequences that come into play. The complaint department will open just before construction is complete.

    Saturday, Feb 25 @ 8:34 am
  • Melvin & Kris Miller

    And How are we going to address the MASS EZ Pass ticket fee LINE? with only one lane each way??

    Saturday, Feb 25 @ 8:49 am
  • Johnny Appleseed

    Build the bridge now!

    Saturday, Feb 25 @ 10:34 am
  • Dorothy

    Despite the naysayers, the Currituck Bridge must be built to serve fast growing Currituck County and the thousands of now full-time residents who live in Carova , Corolla, and Duck and Southern Shores. Hundreds of cars disturb quiet neighborhoods in Southern shores trying to reroute the impossible congestion along two lane Route 12 from March through November each year.
    Obviously, millions of dollars were spent years ago building Route 158 in Dare County to provide ease of access and egress for homeowners and tourism. Millions of dollars are also spent maintaining this highway each year. The need was there and the infrastructure was provided. Route 158 provides a critical route for evacuation, emergency vehicles, development of medical care ( OBX Hospital ) recreation, employment, and tourism. A two lane road with no viable alternate route causes pollution, congestion, delayed emergency response, and dangerously slow evacuation.
    It is now urgent, necessary, and past time that the Currituck County Bridge be built to provide the same infrastructure to allow planned growth, safety, convenience, employment and increased revenue from tourism. That is why we pay our taxes.

    Saturday, Feb 25 @ 12:53 pm
  • Ann Sjoerdsma

    As any lawyer, or former lawyer (which I am) knows, this case was always a slam dunk for NCDOT and the FHA, as its dismissal on summary judgment by the U.S. District Court attests. All the Fourth Circuit did was agree with the lower court’s reasoning and analysis–as anyone who understands the law knew it would do. The SELC achieved its aim of delaying construction.

    Sunday, Feb 26 @ 9:30 am
  • Beachball

    Unfortunately that bridge will destroy the Currituck sound and its wildlife. Hopefully the further license requirements and related studies will ultimately nix the bridge.

    Sunday, Feb 26 @ 1:11 pm
  • Edna Baden

    SELC, please appeal this terrible decision. The future of the enviornment and wildlife on the Currituck Outer Banks is in serious jeopardy if the bridge is built.

    Sunday, Feb 26 @ 1:59 pm
  • Eddie Woodhouse

    Let’s pray that construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge will soon commence. And may The Southern Poverty Law Center and its obstructionist allies be bankrupt! That organization has wasted North Carolinians time and money! Let the ground-breaking begin!

    Sunday, Feb 26 @ 2:38 pm
  • Edward Graham

    There are only two sensible arguments against the bridge being built.
    1) The Twiddy’s, Saga Contruction and the likes will pressure the development of Corova and ruin one of the most unique recreation areas on the East Coast.
    2) Currituck County will steal tons of business from Dare County small businesses. Restaurants, shops and specialty stores in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags will lose any business it derived from vacationers taking the long drive down to those towns from Corolla. The mainland side of Currituck will explode with restaurants and tourist stores. Unless they make it, say $50 or more to cross the bridge, which I think they should, Corolla vacationers will cross the bridge to spend money instead of travelling all the way down to Kitty Hawk and south! As a former Southern Shores resident whose home value was damaged by the lack of a bridge, not to mention the massive inconvience every weekend, I could not be happier for my former neighbors.

    Sunday, Feb 26 @ 10:55 pm
  • John

    Hey Beachball, and any other so called environmentalists, you continually carp about how the environment will be harmed, but you actually offer no example, no facts of how a bridge would affect anything. Because it won’t. In reality bridges help aquatic life in and around them. It would also help human life in the way of evacuation during an emergency!

    Monday, Feb 27 @ 7:56 am
  • Lee

    One thing I have learned in this world is the things we want or don’t want depends on how it affects us. We can’t see sometimes how it may affect others. If you had elderly parents, kids and grand kids that live in powells point that are held hostage in their neighborhoods because of triffic on wekends you might see it differently. I live in carova and can see both sides of this story. The people in carova needs to find a good commissioner that will represent us and look out for the people here.
    Ms Edna who I know and think is a wonderful person. Same thing hold true for horse tours. If you live in a area that sees 15 to 20 tours a day and are ok with that I understand but if you live where 40 to 50 come down your dead end road 30 feet from your house you would feel differently. The numbers are real from camera footage. We should all consider how the things we want affect others.

    Monday, Feb 27 @ 8:35 am
  • Sandflea

    @ Beachball;
    No, it won’t. In fact, it will create structure for additional wildlife. It’s not like it’s in the pristine mountains where the destruction would more or less be permanent. One or two Nor’easter’s or hurricanes will make it appear as if nothing ever happened.
    I’m sorry, but our prehistoric ancestors won. Sometimes a few turtles and snakes will just have to move for a while. I doubt that if the T-Rex’s won they would be having meetings about too much human consumption.
    However, it will accelerate the inevitable destruction of the Outer Banks. One of the many reasons that a lot of us long time residents are leaving or have already left this place. Unfortunately, a lot of nasty people with more money than sense or decency have moved in and are taking over. Maybe this place needs a good Cat-5 hurricane to reset it.

    Monday, Feb 27 @ 8:55 am
  • Buck C.

    @Edward Graham, first off, it is Carova*. Secondly, Twiddy is a property management company that also has a sales department, so they are either representing or selling properties that are already built or listing vacant land for sale, it is not their land to develop. SAGA does not have a presence in the 4×4 near as much as other contractors. Carova is going to keep growing because it is the only affordable place to buy land and there is rental demand for the area. I hate to see it developing as much as it is too, but lets make sure we aren’t spreading misinformation. The majority of the vacant land left are 15,000 sq/ft lots that are privately owned, if these owners keep selling their land, the area will keep growing.

    Monday, Feb 27 @ 7:21 pm
  • Al L.

    I find it hilarious that people who thought everything’s was ok for them to build a big beach house in Corolla or Duck….Now all of a sudden they don’t want any other form of construction. Ironically, they will be the first ones to utilize the new bridge to ease there driving time.

    Thursday, Mar 2 @ 11:22 am
  • David

    Kym does not have the best intentions for our community 🤮

    Friday, Mar 3 @ 7:30 am