N.C. Awards Bridge Replacement Contract

Fri February 15, 2008 - Southeast Edition

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) The state has awarded a $31 million contract to replace the single-lane, wooden pontoon bridge at Sunset Beach.

The state Transportation Department awarded the contract to English Construction Co. of Lynchburg, Va. The contract comes after 30 years of conflict and lawsuits.

DOT was ready to award the contract in October, but opponents filed a motion to delay the project. U.S. District Judge Louise W. Flanagan issued a written order Jan. 9 rejecting the motion.

The plaintiffs in the most recent lawsuit included the Sunset Beach Taxpayers Association and the Brunswick Environmental Action Team.

They alleged that the DOT’s plans for a 65-ft-tall (20 m) bridge connecting the mainland to the island violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the state’s Environmental Protection Act.