The Outer Banks summer beach traffic on the Wright Memorial Bridge is avoided by locals at all costs.
“During the week it’s fine, but on the weekend, it’s impossible,” said John Manoli, who lives in Kill Devil Hills.
“We never cross that bridge on the weekends, we actually rarely leave our house on Saturday or Sunday just because that traffic is horrendous,” said Bethany Doyle, who lives in Southern Shores.
For years, the Mid-Currituck Bridge has been considered the solution to the Outer Banks gridlock.
Stretching from the Currituck mainland to Corolla, it would give a second alternative to crossing the Currituck sound.
“It would probably take my commute down to 15 minutes,” said Jana Daneker, who lives on Belle Island in Currituck County, and commutes all the way around to Duck for work.
“It would be life changing–so much easier and convenient,” said Doyle.
But that bridge dream is slowly fading away.
Back in May, North Carolina transportation officials announced the project did not qualify for state money under their new priority funding formula.
Currituck County leaders say the formula favors more urban areas of the state.
Without state money, the private company who was going to build the bridge now has the option to back out of the project.
“Having lived in Currituck for 25 years, I think we all talk about the bridge, and we basically just assume it’s never going to happen,” said Daneker.
In addition, because the state pulled their funding, the bridge would be built with mostly private money–and would bring a hefty toll.
“I don’t want to pay a toll,” said Daneker.
North Carolina now has the option to continue their contract with the private developer, hoping the bridge can still be built in the future, or they have the option of canceling it.
That decision is expected to be made before the end of the year.