Terry Sanford Federal Courthouse
310 New Bern Avenue
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

Date: November 30,2010

Ms. Jennifer Harris, P.E.
North Carolina Turnpike Authority
North Carolina Department of Transportation
5400 Glenwood Avenue, Suite 400
Raleigh, North Carolina 27612

SUBJECT: EPA Follow-up Comments to TEAC Meeting for R-2576, Mid-Currituck Bridge, Dare and Currituck Counties, N.C.

Dear Ms. Harris:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is providing comments consistent with Section 309 of the Clean Air Act and Section 102(2XC) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Turnpike Authority requested comments from agency representatives on the current proposals for the preferred Alternative MCB4/C1.

EPA’s review comments dated June 4,2010, on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the above referenced project remain unchanged.

EPA has reviewed the Turnpike Authority’s handouts #26, #27, #28 and other information presented during the TEAC meetings since the issuance of the DEIS. Specifically, EPA continues to have substantial environmental concerns for the following aspects of Altemative MCB4/C1 as proposed:

– All dredging in Currituck Sound should be avoided by using a top-down’ construction method.

– Maple Swamp should be bridged to avoid and minimize jurisdictional impacts to high quality wetlands.

– Floodplain encroachment needs to be completely addressed and potential impacts avoided and minimized.

– Storm water runoff from the new bridge needs to be collected and treated. Alternative methods of keeping the bridge free from the build-up of sediment and pollutants have not been adequately demonstrated. While some ‘sweeping’ and ‘vacuuming’ may be environmentally acceptable in lieu of total collection and treatment of storm water, the current plans as proposed are not believed to be adequate and are not presented as formal environmental commitments.

– Based upon comments received following the issuance of the DEIS, EPA’s concerns for indirect and cumulative impacts resulting from the new bridge are further heightened. Potential measures to avoid and minimize these impacts, including formal environmental commitments from other parties, have not been addressed.

– The issue concerning the control of invasive exotic plant species has not been fully explored.

– Compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to jurisdictional
wetlands has not been fully addressed or proposed. As previously requested, EPA believes that compensatory mitigation should be ‘in-kind’ and within the same hydrologic catalog unit.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Please feel free to call me should you have any questions concerning these comments at 919-856-4206. Thank you.

Christopher A. Militscher, REM, CHMM
USEPA Region 4 Raleigh Office
Merger Team Representative

Heinz J. Mueller, Chief
NEPA Program Office
USEPA Resion 4
Cc: G. Hoops. FHWA
W. Biddlecome, USACOE