The Mid-Currituck bridge proposal is back on the table and gaining steam. Many are enthusiastically hopeful that the bridge will begin construction sooner rather later. Last time I reported, the skeptics were leading the charge about the bridge not being a possibility. Now there is some hope that the long awaited expanse will create a new frontier to Corolla. Here are the facts based on the latest NC-DOT report.
The Mid- Currituck bridge project would create a north crossing of the sound that would bypass lower Currituck, Southern Shores and Duck. This crossing would greatly help alleviate congestion and improve the flow of traffic on Saturday’s in the summer, and if there were a hurricane evacuation The 7-mile toll bridge would connect Aydlett (Mainland Currituck) to Corolla. The project will cost 440 million. The funding will come from bonds paid back from future toll revenue and a combination of state and federal transportation tax. At this point they don’t know how much the toll will be.
The project was put on hold in 2013 but has since been approved for inclusion in the 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program. An amendment in this program states that the project should begin in 2017 fiscal year (which starts July 2016). There is a lot of preliminary work that NC-DOT will need to do before construction begins. This will include: developing a new traffic and revenue study, toll financing plan, selecting a builder, preparing final design plans, acquiring right of way, and obtaining environmental agency permits.
What does all this mean for the future of this bridge? Well that really depends on who you ask. In my opinion with projects this large on the Outer Banks there always will be some hang up’s. Although I am more optimistic that the bridge will eventually be built. I would much rather air on the side of cautioun based on the time it has taken to approve the Bonner Bridge, which crosses Oregon Inlet. Obtaining environmental permits in the past has been a slow process.
The future does look bright for most residence if the bridge is built. Increased revenues and home prices should follow with easier access to the Northern part of the island. Surely, businesses will see an increase in incomes as more visitors invade the beaches. The environment may be inversely impacted by the increase unless proper laws are put into place to help regulate the already difficult task. Change is an inevitable fact of life and as my father has always told me, “Embrace change son or you will get swallowed up by the past”. The future holds bright for us Outer Bankers if we follow our hearts and do what’s right in life.
For more insights about the Outer Banks and surrounding area please feel free to contact Ken or Pete with Best Buy OBX of Outer Banks Blue.
Ken (252) 305-5255
Pete (252) 202-4868