NC lawmakers question how to pay for new Mid-Currituck Bridge

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by Philip Townsend, 13News

WVEC.com

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 9 at 6:21 PM

CURRITUCK CO., NC - A bridge project connecting Currituck County to the Outer Banks is getting a new push from its supporters.

The state has already invested $25 million in planning and design for the Mid-Currituck Bridge and supporters say not pursuing its completion will end up costing taxpayers even more.

Several North Carolina lawmakers, including Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick), have spoken out against the project.  He questions the state's ability to pay up to $28 million annually over the next 30 years for the bridge.

The seven-mile, two-lane span would be tolled on the County side.

A group of supporters recently took a bus to Raleigh to sit in on a state transportation meeting. Outer Banks business owner Lori London was one of them and says the group was not treated fairly.

"(State Transportation Oversight Committee) wouldn't even let us speak. I couldn't believe how we were treated," London said.

Supporters say the bridge is critical to the region's economy.  They worry lengthy backups heading towards the Outer Banks will deter tourists and they say the bridge will prevent that from happening.

The bridge across the Currituck Sound between US 158 on the county mainland and NC12 on the Outer Banks also would provide an alternative hurricane evacuation route for the northern Outer Banks.

Right now, it's still in development but plans would have it open to traffic in 2017.

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