Reprinted from Outer Banks Voice
Southern Shores Town Council announced at its meeting Tuesday that it will file an amicus brief supporting the mid-Currituck bridge as part of the ongoing litigation over the project.
The Southern Environmental Law Center has been waging a legal battle to block the bridge and, according to Town Manager Cliff Ogburn, Southern Shores now has until June 13 to file the amicus curiae brief opposing the law center’s position. Amicus curiae, which translates as “friend of the court,” is a brief written by a person or group that is not part of the lawsuit but offers input or insight on ongoing litigation.
The law center filed the suit on behalf of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and a group called No Mid-Currituck Bridge. It appears that the actual decision by the Southern Shores council to enter the litigation was made in a closed session during its April 14 meeting.
The move to enter the case is the latest and clearest example of recent efforts by Dare County municipalities to create momentum toward building the proposed 5-mile toll bridge from the Currituck mainland to the Currituck Outer Banks that is intended, among other things, to alleviate summer traffic congestion.
Those efforts have featured the recent passage of resolutions in favor of the bridge by a number of Dare County towns, the county commissioners and the Dare County Tourism Board.
In December 2021, Judge Louise Wood Flanagan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled against the law center’s suit to stop the bridge project. That ruling however, came on the heels of a North Carolina Department of Transportation announcement that the bridge would be delayed for two years due to the litigation – pushing the bridge build start date to at least 2025.
The Southern Environmental Law Center filed an appeal Jan. 31 asking that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to declare the NCDOT 2012 analysis prepared for the bridge “illegal and outdated.” And on April 5, SELC filed its opening briefs with that court.
This story is provided courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice, a digital newspaper covering the Outer Banks. Coastal Review is partnering with the Voice to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest about our coast.