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, Virginia. 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 Wednesday rejecting the motion.
Opponents say the DOT's plans for a 65-foot-tall bridge connecting the mainland to the island violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the state's Environmental Protection Act.