Prospect of Mid-Currituck Bridge May Mean Big Changes for Property Owners

Lauren Atkins

The Outer Banks is one of North Carolina’s most beautiful spots. Locals and tourists flock there, especially on summer weekends, to enjoy the sand and surf as well as the incomparable scenery. Like a lot of beautiful, sparsely populated places, it isn’t exactly easy to get to the Outer Banks. There’s really only one bridge, the Wright Memorial Bridge near Kitty Hawk, that connects the area to the mainland. That’s why the idea of the Mid-Currituck Bridge has been tossed around for about the last 25 years.

The people who live on or near the Outer Banks know that traffic congestion is a major problem. It’s why they tend to avoid the beach on weekends. They just don’t want to deal with the snarl of cars on the Wright Memorial Bridge. Adding another crossing seems like a good solution, but the answers are more complex than simply building an additional bridge.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge project has been plagued with funding problems for years. It suffered a massive setback in the middle of 2014 when it looked like no government funding would be available for it. However, that began to change at the end of the year with the publication of a new draft state transportation plan. It looks like the project may be able to move forward after all.

There are plenty of local voices raised for and against the project. Some hale it as a welcome change that will drastically shorten their daily commute. Others fear that it will mean increased noise and congestion in small communities like Aydlett, where some people chose to settle because of its peaceful seclusion.

Whether locals are for or against the Mid-Currituck Bridge, it seems that plans are moving forward for the two lane toll bridge which will stretch for about seven miles. The completion of the bridge is likely to affect the lives of locals and visitors. However, it will most closely impact those people who own property where the proposed bridge would begin and terminate. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is prepared to claim eminent domain rights over all affected property owners.

Claiming eminent domain is not unusual for a government entity like the NCDOT. For them, it’s a routine part of doing business. They have a project they want to complete, and if it requires land owned by private citizens, then it is within their right to appropriate it. However, the NCDOT must follow certain legal procedures when doing so.

Any property owners who may be affected by the construction of the proposed Mid-Currituck Bridge in Currituck County will be contacted by the NCDOT or another government agency. They are required to provide adequate notice to the property owner. Moreover, they will make a financial settlement offer.

Most property owners feel overwhelmed in the face of such an offer. They may have close ties to their property and consequently wonder if they truly have to let it go. On top of that, they may sense pressure to accept the NCDOT’s initial offer.

The truth is that property owners have legal rights when it comes to eminent domain. With the help of North Carolina condemnation lawyers like Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog, home and business owners don’t have to wonder what their rights are and whether or not they should accept the government’s offer. The eminent domain attorneys at CSH can investigate the situation and offer sound legal advice. They can even bring an eminent domain taking before the court, if necessary. If you’ve been contacted by the NCDOT regarding an eminent domain matter, get in touch with CSH to begin familiarizing yourself with your property rights.

Lauren AtkinsProspect of Mid-Currituck Bridge May Mean Big Changes for Property Owners