Environmental Groups Sue Over Bonner Bridge Replacement

OREGON INLET, N.C. (AP) -- Three environmental groups are suing over the plan to replace the bridge that connects Hatteras Island to the rest of North Carolina's Outer Banks.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, the Defenders of the Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association filed the lawsuit Friday in federal court. They're suing the state Department of Transportation and others over the plan to build a bridge that's parallel to the Bonner Bridge, a deteriorating structure built in 1963 and designed to last 30 years.

The proposed replacement goes through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and is estimated to cost $300 million. Environmentalists support a 17-mile alternative that would bypass the refuge. Its estimated cost is $1 billion.

A DOT spokeswoman says the agency is reviewing the lawsuit.

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