Gov. Pat McCrory declared Monday a “historic day for the people who call the Outer Banks home and the millions of visitors who travel here each year. Today, we begin building a bridge that has been more than two decades in the making.”
With that, the governor confirmed what many Outer Banks residents and visitors learned a few hours earlier:
The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, will withdraw its legal challenges against building a parallel replacement to the Bonner Bridge.
Joined by state officials, Southern Environmental Law Center representatives and a spokesperson for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the governor held a press conference on a steamy beach at the southern end of the Bonner Bridge.
The backdrop: An Army Corps dredge and returning charter boats gliding through Oregon Inlet.
While much work remains concerning a permanent fix for the new inlet cut by Hurricane Irene in 2011 and the paved portion of N.C. 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, the players in the years-long struggle now seem to be moving in the same direction.
“This has been more than two decades in the making and I’m convinced if these groups had not had viable discussions during the past many months this could have been delayed for another decade, and that is totally unacceptable,” McCrory said.
The governor also acknowledged the team effort, reserving special praise for N.C. Transportation Secretary A.J. “Tony” Tata , NCDOT General Counsel Shelly Blake, Julie Youngman, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Jerry Jennings, NCDOT District 1 engineer.
For the full story got to Bonner Bridge Replacement To Begin