Forty-four years in the making, Mid-Currituck Bridge gets federal approval

Rendering, Mid-Currituck Bridge

More than 40 years after state and local officials identified the need for a bridge connecting the northern Outer Banks to the mainland, the project finally got a green light from the feds.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge, a seven-mile span over Currituck Sound, received approval Friday from the Federal Highway Administration, paving the way for construction plans to begin.

The bridge will connect the Currituck community of Aydlett on the mainland to Corolla on the Outer Banks, a 40-mile shortcut to the popular northern beach communities.

Travelers coming in from the north currently have to drive south over the Wright Memorial Bridge on U.S. 158 and back north to Corolla through Duck, causing “epic” traffic during peak season, Currituck officials say.

The new bridge will also help ease hurricane evacuation on the storm-prone Outer Banks.

“This is a major milestone in delivering this project, that the local communities requested,” said Chris Werner, Acting Executive Director of the North Carolina Turnpike Authority. “The Mid-Currituck Bridge will provide much-needed transportation improvements for hurricane evacuation clearance times and connectivity to the Outer Banks.”

State and local officials first identified a need for an east-west crossing over Currituck Sound in 1975 and began formal planning in 1995.

The state Turnpike Authority became involved in 2006 when local leaders considered funding the project with toll revenue.

One of the major considerations in building the bridge was boosting hurricane evacuation clearance times, which often fail to meet the state designated standards of 18 hours, the N.C. Department of Transportation said in a news release.

The shortcut provided by the bridge is estimated to provide a travel time savings of about two hours one-way during peak travel periods.

The 7-mile toll project includes a two-lane bridge that spans the Currituck Sound and connects the Currituck County mainland to the Outer Banks. It also includes a second two-lane bridge that spans Maple Swamp on the Currituck County mainland, connecting Aydlett to U.S. 158.

The project has an overall estimated cost of $440 million. A portion of the funding is expected to come from bonds that will be paid back with toll revenue.

The remainder of the funding is expected to come from a combination of state and federal transportation tax revenues.

The FHA’s “Record of Decision” allows NCDOT and the Turnpike Authority to move the project forward and begin acquiring land needed for the project’s right of way, to obtain environmental permits and advance construction plans.

The project also includes improvements to N.C. 12 and minor enhancements to the Wright Memorial Bridge, aiding in hurricane evacuation.


  1. If I had my way I would not allow this bridge to built until Southern Shores and Duck install at least 2 public beach access areas for parking..

  2. I hope this project becomes a legal nightmare and never is completed! 440 million dollars to accommodate travelers to Corolla for 12 Saturdays a year is crazy and a waste of money. By the way, in the meantime, repave 158!

    • The main purpose of the bridge would be to help with hurricane evacuation. If you read the article you would have seen that as of right now the evac time is above what the state calls for. But hey let’s risk lives because one person thinks it’s only for tourists.

    • I understand your thinking BUT you have to realize how much money is pumped into the local economy by those travelers!

    • You are not thinking of the local employees that need to get to their jobs and the Local police departments that have to stand outside and direct traffic for hours in the hot sun. I am sure they all will appreciate that.

  3. They definitely should be 4 lane bridges because the cost of making them 4 lane now will be way less than building new bridges later on down the road and eventually there will need to be two lanes in each direction anyway.

  4. Safety and traffic congestion are the main priorities for the bridge.If people in Corolla, Duck and points north don’t like the idea then relocate. Every weekend the traffic backs up along Rt-158 only to have eveyone merge to the left to the north end after you cross WMB. So I think it’s a great idea it will decrease traffic on the WMB Here’s and idea let’s build a marina and boat ramp so you don’t have to drive to OI or Hatteras.

  5. If and or when this actually happens, I think over time you will see more families living in corolla year round. In particular families with school-age children since it will be connected to the rest of Currituck county and the county school system, Accessible by a short school bus ride.
    That will bring drastic change to the county. More residents require more infrastructure and services which inevitably raise property tax rates.
    Corolla is a great place. I hope this is being looked at from every angle. We seem to be living in a time of tunnel vision and unintended consequences

  6. I am for it. It will increase property values on the Norther. Outer banks The summertime rentals will pick up as well due to the shorter distance. Hope it will not affect the rental market in Nagshead. Will be interesting what the amount of the toll will be ???

  7. Very exciting news for homeowners and vacationers alike. It will not only save time overall, but help summer congestion. Certainly a plus in emergency situations. Having an alternate route is security.

  8. I think it is great if it finally happens. I can understand the permanent residents being opposed to it at first. Let the tourists go away and see what it does for that area. To be honest, the price of rentals in Corolla keeps riff raff from even staying down there as its not affordable for many families so the only real danger is people getting there faster and property values rising and more income for localities.

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