Judge approves plan to replace Bonner Bridge on Outer Banks - WRBL

Judge approves plan to replace Bonner Bridge on Outer Banks

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DOT Secretary Tony Tata addresses the Bonner Bridge DOT Secretary Tony Tata addresses the Bonner Bridge
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A federal judge has approved plans for a parallel span to replace the aging Bonner Bridge along North Carolina's Outer Banks, moving the state closer to starting a project that began 24 years ago.
    
Judge Louise Flanagan ruled Monday against environmentalists' efforts to stop the state Transportation Department from building a new bridge to connect Hatteras Island with the mainland. The remaining legal hurdle is a petition filed with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings, also by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
    
The transportation department issued a $215 million contract to PCL Civil Constructors in August 2011 to build a new bridge.

"This is a great day for residents and millions of visitors to the Outer Banks, and an historic day for North Carolina. We want to thank Judge Flanagan for her ruling," said State Transportation Secretary Tony Tata. "We've spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money keeping the existing bridge open and we know it stands on borrowed time. With this ruling, we are prepared to move as quickly as possible to replace this lifeline bridge."

Environmental groups support a 17-mile bridge that goes into the Pamlico Sound with an estimated cost of more than $1 billion.

The N.C. Department of Transportation said it has spent more than $56 million in repairs and maintenance over the past two decades.

A law center attorney says the group is evaluating options.

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