RALEIGH –– The N.C. Department of Transportation announced today that U.S. District Court Judge James Dever III ruled in favor of the N.C.Turnpike Authority late Monday in the lawsuit filed by the Southern Environmental Law Center filed on behalf of Clean Air Carolina, N.C. Wildlife Federation and Yadkin Riverkeeper.
In a 28-page ruling, Judge Dever states the analysis concerning the Monroe Connector/Bypass complied with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Judge also states the Department went through thorough efforts to ensure that its data and analysis were proper.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave final environmental approval to the Monroe Connector/Bypass by issuing the 404 permit in April 2011. The Turnpike Authority had set aside work on the project until the Judge had a chance to review the case and make a decision on the environmental documents.
“We are pleased that after a thorough review of our environmental studies, Judge Dever validated our work by ruling in favor of allowing the Monroe Connector/Bypass to finally proceed,” said Transportation Secretary Gene Conti. “This is the top transportation priority for Mecklenburg and Union counties. NCTA will work hard to see it come to fruition.”
The Turnpike Authority took more than four years to complete the environmental planning documents for the Monroe project. NCTA will now seek the Local Government Commission’s approval of the project’s plan of finance and issue the remainder of the bonds needed to finance and award the construction contract to the low bidder - a Joint Venture of United Infrastructure Group Inc., Boggs Paving Inc. and Anderson Columbia Company Inc., teamed with lead design firm Rummel, Klepper & Kahl LLP.
The 19.7-mile Monroe Connector/Bypass toll road is set to open to traffic in late 2015. It will be the state’s second toll road. A copy of the judge’s opinion and final ruling can be found on the Turnpike Authority’s web page.
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