Bonner Bridge closure challenges piling up

Photo: VBOfficial/Wikimedia Commons

NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory and fellow Republicans are piling up the pressure, hoping an environmental group drops its lawsuit against North Carolina's plans to replace a key Outer Banks bridge.

McCrory said in Nags Head on Friday he'll write the directors of the Southern Environmental Law Center urging them to quit. The General Assembly's top two lawmakers also blamed the group for the emergency shutdown of the Bonner Bridge, the only road link between Hatteras Island and the mainland.

The bridge was supposed to last 30 years, but is now half a century old. A proposed replacement has been held up by litigation.

State officials abruptly closed the nearly half-century old bridge on Dec. 3 after finding multiple structural faults. It's the only land link between Hatteras Island and mainland North Carolina.

The environmental group favors a 17-mile bridge costing $1 billion over the state's plan, saying the shorter span ignores washouts and breaches on the island's main road.