A federal judge has approved plans for a parallel span to replace the aging Bonner Bridge along North Carolina's Outer Banks, moving the state closer to starting a project that began 24 years ago.
Judge Louise Flanagan ruled Monday against environmentalists' efforts to stop the state Transportation Department from building a new bridge to connect Hatteras Island with the mainland. The remaining legal hurdle is a petition filed with the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings, also by the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The transportation department issued a $215 million contract to build a new bridge two years ago.
Environmental groups support a 17-mile bridge that goes into the Pamlico Sound. Its estimated cost is more than $1 billion.
An law center spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an email.
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