June 1, 2010

Mr. Bill Biddlecome
US Army Corps of Engineers
P.O. Box 1000
Washington, N.C. 27889

Subject: Mid–Currituck Bridge

Dear Mr. Biddlecome:

I am writing to express my opposition to the Currituck Mid-County Bridge project which is currently in its final comment period. I have attached a copy of comments regarding issues found in the DEIS. In summary of those comments, it is my position as presented by the DEIS that this bridge fails to meet the objectives set forth in the DEIS.

Specifically, the DEIS states that the bridge will make traffic at the eastern terminus of the bridge (south of Corolla) worse.
Per the DEIS, traffic will improve if Rt 12 is widened between Duck and US 158.
Per the DEIS, without improvement in the outbound capacity of this portion of US158 (NC 168 to NC12) future hurricane evacuation clearance times would not decrease, even if NC 12 was widened, or a Mid-Currituck Bridge was built.
The DEIS does not analyze impact of current widening and improvement to US 158 from Belcross to Camden and on to RT 17 (Project #34430.3) therefore, clearance time is likely to be overstated.
Traffic counts of possible volumes of usage of the MCB are overstated based on observation, that many of the cars passing the Dare/Currituck county line are originating in Dare, are service vehicles (up to 25% of vehicular traffic on a non-summer weekday) that will continue to travel Rt 12 and not utilize the bridge, or, are Dare tourists (another 20% of traffic) that are making day trips to the attractions of the northern beaches such as the Wildlife museum, Whalehead Club, and/or wild horses in the off-road portion of the beach—they will return to Dare via Rt 12. The traffic that will be alleviated by this bridge represents a small fraction of the traffic that currently crosses the Wright Memorial Bridge. And, an even smaller fraction of that traffic will cross the Dare/Currituck line to travel into Currituck County.
One of the major “surveys” used by the North Carolina Turnpike Authority to judge traffic was actually conducted well south of Duck on Rt 12 at the intersection with Chickahawk.
Congested summer weekend traffic represents only 9% of total yearly travel days. On Saturday May 29th (Memorial Day weekend) at 11:30 am, I drove from Aydlett to the third stoplight south of the Wright Memorial Bridge at highway speeds in 25 minutes. I don’t think this travel time is unbearable. I observed a traffic survey car sitting at the intersection of Rt 12 and US158 near the stoplight for the rest area.

The environmental impact of this bridge is substantial whether measured by the proposed “dams” on which the western terminus is to be built through the Maple Swamp, the coastal marshland at the eastern terminus, the noise/light/air pollution within the village of Aydlett, the impact on wetlands and habitat—yesterday I observed a pair of nesting American Bald eagles within 1 mile of the proposed western terminus as well as 3 Osprey feeding/hunting within the 1 mile radius. Last summer I observed sea turtles (not snapping turtles) feeding near my pier. These impacts are inadequately analyzed by the DEIS.

Additionally, I would like to comment regarding the volume of boat traffic observed which would be impacted by the bridge. I have seen within the last month two sailing schooners with masts in excess of 30 ft., two dozen sail boards with masts of 9-11 ft., 10 kayaks, numerous jet skis, 8 fishing/crabbing boats of watermen working the sound for jobs, 10-20 pleasure boats, some pulling skiers, and, large inboard boats pulling parasails. I personally sail a Prindle catamaran with a 23ft mast.

At the public hearings on the DEIS, the vast majority of individuals speaking, spoke out against the building of any bridge. It was the business community and more specifically, the real estate business, which overwhelmingly supported the bridge. You have to ask yourself–what is the real purpose of this bridge and whether it is needed, or merely “wanted” by those with real estate developmental interests.

The need to exact the environmental and economic costs of the Currituck Mid-County bridge on North Carolina residents is not supported by the DEIS. I respectfully request that you please join the individuals who expressed their opposition to the bridge and not support any option which builds a bridge. The bridge does not accomplish its stated purposes as put forth in the DEIS.

It makes traffic worse in Corolla,
It doesn’t improve hurricane evacuation,
It does not substantially improve travel time from mainland Currituck to the Currituck Outer Banks.
It does nothing to address congested traffic in Duck, Southern Shores, and Kitty Hawk.
It fails to recognize that the traffic problem it seeks to address represents only 9% of total travel days in a year.


Wallace E. Davis, III