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Q&A: Environmentalists, DOT defend Bonner Bridge positions

Posted April 1, 2014
Updated March 24

SELC's side

Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center, has been one of the more vocal opponents of the state Department of Transportation plan to replace Bonner Bridge with a parallel replacement.

What are your key arguments in your lawsuit to stop the parallel replacement bridge? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: Arguments against DOT's plan
What’s your response to the state’s assertion that the 17-mile bridge will cost four times the amount of the parallel bridge it wants to build? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: Cost comparisons
Even if the 17-mile bridge only costs $569 million, that’s still more than double the cost of the parallel bridge project, so how do you justify that? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: Justify the cost
How do you respond to the accusation some have made that this is all about winning for you, not necessarily about doing the right thing for the people of Hatteras Island? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: Working for people of Hatteras?
NC Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata called you and the groups you represent latte-drinking, ivory-tower elitists who have contempt for the good people of the Outer Banks. How do you respond to that? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: Called names by DOT
Do you think the bridge closure in December was a manufactured crisis to put pressure on you to drop your lawsuit? Derb Carter, director of the North Carolina offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center SELC's Carter: December bridge closure

For the state

Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, heads the agency leading the way to a replacement for Bonner Bridge that would parallel the current bridge.

Why do you think the parallel bridge option is better than the 17-mile bridge option? Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tata: Why is parallel bridge best?
Your engineers estimated the cost of the 17-mile bridge at $569 million in 2012, so how did your estimate change to around a billion dollars in such a short amount of time? Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tata: Comparing cost estimates
What’s your response to Derb Carter’s claim that the DOT made up the billion-dollar estimate to help make its case for the shorter bridge? Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tata: Backing the billion-dollar estimate
How do you actually know what the long term costs of the parallel bridge are going to be when you don’t know how often highway 12 to the south will be washed out, how many new inlets will form and how many more additional bridge’s might have to be built? Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tata: Estimating long-term costs
You called the SELC and the groups it represents ivory tower, latte drinking elitists who have contempt for the people of the Outer Banks. Is that the kind of language a high-ranking public official should use? Tony Tata, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Tata: Calling SELC names
What about using ferries to access Hatteras Island instead of building a new bridge. It works for Ocracoke Island. {{embed href="video-12}}

Another option

Stan Riggs, an East Carolina University geologist who’s studied Hatteras Island for decades offers a new way to look at the 17-mile bridge plan.

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  • beggin for bridge Apr 4, 2014

    Also:



    SELC Carter’s response to the question: How do you respond to the accusation some have made that this is all about winning for you, not necessarily about doing the right thing for the people of Hatteras Island? Mr. Carter summarized that it was not about winning, rather, SELC became involved only at the request of NCDOT itself, who off the record asked for help in 2003 after Dare County politicians “derailed” the project. He states that NCDOT had made the decision to build the long bridge.



    Bridge Moms Facebook Group rebuttal: NCDOT never reached a Record of Decision to build the long bridge. In fact, NCDOT never even selected long bridge as a preferred alternative. Jim Trogdon, recently retired Chief Deputy Secretary NCDOT gave the following synopsis in December: In 2003 the long bridge was agreed to be studied in detail based on misinformation by SELC and oth

  • beggin for bridge Apr 4, 2014

    Bridge Moms Facebook Group offers the following responses to the answers Mr. Carter gave for SELC in response to the questions asked after the WRAL documentary Wednesday night. Beth Midgett, Co-Founder, Bridge Moms Group Facebook

    SELC Carter’s response to the question: What are your key arguments in your lawsuit to stop the parallel replacement bridge? Mr. Carter summarized Pea Island is washing away, the short bridge option phased approach is not a solution that will work.

    Bridge Moms Facebook Group rebuttal: The “hotspot” areas of NC Hwy 12 on Hatteras Island are well identified and have been for many decades. These are the areas identified as most likely to be broached in major storm events. Many of them have been bridged in the past century after storm events and remnants of the bridges can been seen on the Island today.

    SELC themselves agree to this fact on page 5 of their opening brief filed on 12/9/13 with the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. In the sec

  • cldd6 Apr 3, 2014

    I was born on Hatteras island like my ancestors, the huge part of the this story has not yet been told! The reason the beaches of Hatteras island are eroding and our highway is being threatened is mainly due to man! Not one article has addressed the USACE dredging for 45 years of Oregon inlet, displacing the sand out of the littoral system that would flow south to our beaches. We have been told that " we are allowing nature to take its course" problem is, that didn't apply to everyone! It has been a long 41 years since sand has been put back on the beaches of Hatteras island! The USACE is required to do that in other areas of the country! Not here! NCDOT is spending a lot of money out here but they have not spend one dime trying to prevent disasters, only reacting after the fact , retreat and repair are the only words in the dictionary! In 1989 in their own report the USACE said dredging only would cause great harm to the beaches of Hatteras ,they don't care, just keep that inlet open

  • beggin for bridge Apr 3, 2014

    We would like to offer the following responses to the answers Mr. Carter gave for SELC in response to the questions asked after the interview. Beth Midgett, Co-Founder, Bridge Moms Group Facebook
    SELC Carter’s response to the question: What are your key arguments in your lawsuit to stop the parallel replacement bridge? Mr. Carter summarized Pea Island is washing away, the short bridge option phased approach is not a solution that will work.
    Bridge Moms Facebook Group rebuttal: The “hotspot” areas of NC Hwy 12 on Hatteras Island are well identified and have been for many decades. These are the areas identified as most likely to be broached in major storm events. Many of them have been bridged in the past century after storm events and remnants of the bridges can been seen on the Island today.
    SELC themselves agree to this fact on page 5 of their opening brief filed on 12/9/13 with the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. In the section titled “Statement of Facts”