SELC won’t appeal Mid-Currituck Bridge decision to Supreme Court, project timetable uncertain

By on May 14, 2023

After several years of wending its way through the courts, the lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) challenging the construction of the Mid-Currituck Bridge appears to have run its course.

In December 2021, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled against the plaintiffs, a decision that was affirmed in February 2023 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In April, that court rejected SELC’s petition for a rehearing, leaving only one further option, which SELC has ruled out.

“We will not appeal to the US Supreme Court,” SELC lead attorney Kym Meyer told the Voice.

Although the bridge project is moving forward, because of the delays caused by COVID and the lawsuit, the start date for construction and a completion date are listed on the Mid Currituck Bridge website as TBD—To Be Determined.

The bridge will be built by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, although the North Carolina Turnpike Authority will manage it as a toll road when completed.

One of the hurdles the project is facing is a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) reevaluation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that was issued in 2012. A Record of Decision (ROD) based on the EIS was issued in 2019. The ROD confirms the findings of the EIS and that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) agrees with the findings.

Those documents, however, must be reevaluated in three years if the project is not under construction, Meyer noted. “It has to be reevaluated every three years and it’s been more than three years. They (NCDOT) have to reevaluate the whole NEPA document and check that it is still valid,” she said.

According to Logen Hodges, Director of Marketing and Communications for the NC Turnpike Authority, project managers do not anticipate any significant changes — changes that would mean the FHWA would have to be consulted.

“At this time, we do not anticipate a consultation with FHWA until the environmental permits have been issued,” he wrote in an email, indicating that project managers do not anticipate any significant new findings that would impact the EIS.

The environmental permits may be the next major stage for the bridge. The planned route passes through Maple Swamp on the mainland Currituck side and crosses Currituck Sound, which is considered a navigable waterway.

Environmental permitting agencies, according to Hodges, include the NC Division of Water Resources and NC Division of Coastal Management, the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Coast Guard.

“Any potential impacts to [the] schedule are unknown. Once the environmental permits are secured, we will have more certainty regarding the project delivery schedule,” Hodges wrote.


  • Steven

    Any area remaining un-ruined in northern banks will also disappear, making way for more unfavorable demographic

    Sunday, May 14 @ 1:29 pm
  • Charles

    Since the bridge will cross a navigable waterway will it have an arch high enough to clear any boats currently allowed to use that passage? I can’t imagine a swing or draw bride section being used.

    Sunday, May 14 @ 1:49 pm
  • Thomas

    Just one more hurdle and then a couple more permits and re-evaluations and a few more hurdles. Does anyone really think this thing will be built ten years from now?

    Sunday, May 14 @ 2:46 pm
  • Greg

    Finally, the residents of Duck, Southern Shores and Kitty Hawk will get some relief from the flow of traffic to Corolla. To the naysayers… were all of you when no development and building permits were denied by Currituck County? Every piece of private land in Corolla has been developed. Now it is time to get real about access to that very popular vacation destination. No other beach community on the East Coast has such poor access. Many 80s and 90s homes there are being replaced or remodeled into and by homes twice their size which means more occupancy on already developed land. There are public and non profit preservation areas in Corolla.

    Sunday, May 14 @ 4:45 pm
  • Edward Graham

    @Thomas I would say the answer to your question is, no!! LOL This bridge has been discussed since I was a young man. Now I am on old man. I sure would like to see it before I die, but I am not holding my breath. By the time it is built, the entire Outer Banks will probably be under water anyway due to global warming! LOL If I still lived there, I would vote to let the ocean do what it wants to do and take the oceanfront homes and start a new oceanfront just like South Nags Head did over the past 40 years. This constant reclaiming of the beach is a huge waste of money, and it kills the wildlife at the shore. Ever tried to fish on one of these reclaimed beaches? There is nothing out there except the sharks!

    Sunday, May 14 @ 5:03 pm
  • Edward Graham

    @Steven It is imperative that the leaders of the Outer Banks communities do not let that happen. We do not want the Outer Banks to become an extention of Virginia Beach, that’s for sure. Stop SAGA (the evil empire) from over building! Pass ordinances to make sure that overcrowding does not happen. The greatness of the Outer Banks is its “elbow room” and beach houses with yards. Don’t let that get ruined!

    Sunday, May 14 @ 5:12 pm
  • kdh back seat reviewer


    Monday, May 15 @ 10:24 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Back seat. Next time you want to post something to the Voice comment page, you are going to have to supply more effort than simply typing out four numerals.

    Monday, May 15 @ 11:26 am
  • Mike Raphone

    Hey, Mark. At least he was allowed to say it.

    Monday, May 15 @ 11:30 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Only in the interests of pointing out that he can’t do it again.

    Monday, May 15 @ 2:04 pm
  • WindyBill

    Charles, that wateway is not deep enough to be navigable by anything much beyond a bass boat. Any sailboats could drop their mast and put it up again on the other side.

    Monday, May 15 @ 2:07 pm
  • Kevin

    Currently we have thousands of cars and trucks idling while waiting in huge backups…causing air pollution. Currituck County kids having to be bussed way south…more pollution and wasted time. Emergency vehicles like ambulances and the Sheriffs office, have to travel way south to respond to the beach…hurricane evacuation will improve…fishing the bridge pilings everyone knows the fish love this habitat…Purple Martins love to nest under bridges…this bridge makes so much sense, I hope it’s built soon.

    Monday, May 15 @ 8:36 pm
  • Beachie Keen

    Hear all y’all but 2 issues not addressed/resolved two lanes and toll relief for residents and essential workers including those fire, EMS folk as well as service workers.
    Currituck BOC see another cash cow for tourists and they seem to forget how much mainland and beach residents in the bridge path have to lose. A toll pass IMO is a minimal but welcome give back. SAGA alone could pick up the tab especially since they’ll need workers for their Corolla project that included a 100 room hotel at the bridge landing

    Monday, May 15 @ 10:37 pm
  • WindyBill

    Last on this subject. SELC (Souhern Environmental Legalcashflow Center) will simply wait till the new permits are issued then sue over those. They have a very high skill level at legal blackmail.

    Tuesday, May 16 @ 11:47 am
  • Edward Hayman

    If you don’t live in Southern Shores or Duck you have no say in the matter.. the residents of these two communities have had enough of the weekend traffic standstill on our roads.

    Tuesday, May 16 @ 1:18 pm
  • Tyler

    Traffic congestion, like the in Outer Bank isn’t going to go away anytime soon. If this bridge is built, the congestion might be lessened for many. Plus the trip for beach goes north of the outer banks will be optimized. Less miles to drive, less energy to be used and less accidents (hopefully). People might even have the confidence to bring their electric cars knowing they might not get stuck in traffic jams and worry about their battery dying.

    Tuesday, May 16 @ 2:55 pm
  • David

    Thank God! It’s about time… let’s get this thing done!!!

    Tuesday, May 16 @ 5:13 pm
  • disgruntled

    Sure thing Ed, be nice if I could keep my tax dollars out of it also. But, happy to help, even if you can’t see the benefits to anyone else.

    Thursday, May 18 @ 5:58 pm
  • Randy Williams

    Forget it, folks! That bridge has been discussed, cussed, and re-cussed ever since I can remember! It ain’t gonna’ happen!!

    Friday, May 19 @ 8:41 am
  • Steven

    As a previous long-time resident of Carova, that bridge is one of the worst things that could happen to us.
    It’s already ridiculously overpopulated with an unfavorable demographic..

    Friday, May 19 @ 12:40 pm
  • Paul

    I hope 🤞 that all the delaying tactics are done with and they can finally get started. That will be a big help for the Dare county traffic and a big boost for the community. So get on with it !!

    Monday, May 22 @ 7:41 am
  • Guagib

    So glad we dis-invested from Corolla and OBX a few years ago. What was once pristine, serene, and peaceful has now devolved into a VA Beach/Ocean City Mini-Me. The bridge will just make things worse. And boo-hoo to all the Dare County whiners who complain about Currituck County traffic, doing everything to create the logjam in Duck in order to reap huge economic benefit from their so-called “inconvenience.”Can’t wait to hear them all complain when the bridge permanently detours the tourist and the money goes north and to the mainland.

    Thursday, May 25 @ 1:57 pm