By MARTHA WAGGONER
RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- North Carolina's transportation department will proceed with plans to build a bridge connecting Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks despite a lawsuit filed by environmentalists to halt the process.
DOT spokeswoman Greer Beaty told The Associated Press on Wednesday that bids to design and build the new Bonner Bridge will be opened July 19, allowing the winning team to start getting permits. She says the state already has addressed the issues raised in the lawsuit that environmentalists filed Friday.
The state plans to build a bridge parallel to the current span, which runs 2.7 miles across Oregon Inlet. The environmental groups support a 17-mile bridge that would bypass the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and would cost an estimated $1 billion. The state plan would cost about $300 million.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)