Corps of Engineers revokes bypass permit

Apr. 30, 2013 @ 05:30 PM

Nearly a year after a federal appeals court decision halted the Monroe Bypass, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced official revocation of a necessary permit.

On April 17, Col. Steven A. Baker sent the official letter to the N.C. Department of Transportation and the

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N.C. Turnpike Authority, the agency overseeing construction of the bypass.

“The District understands that you are presently reevaluating the data as part of the NEPA process associated with this project to make sure that you disclose critical assumptions underlying your decision to build the road and provide the public with detailed and accurate information,” Baker wrote. “However, at this point the District believes that it is necessary to revoke your permit...”

Tuesday, the NCDOT released an updated project timeline, putting the first draft and public comment period this summer and approval of the final document in late 2013.

“NCDOT will need to reapply for this permit before construction of the road begins because it is a requirement for road projects that cross water or wetlands,” read a statement on the NCDOT website. “NCDOT will coordinate with the USACE once the environmental study is complete and construction activities are able to resume.”

The release quotes NCDOT Division Engineer Louis Mitchell as saying the department is still committed to the project.

“We also are committed to full transparency and disclosure throughout each step of the process,” he said.

Baker’s letter to state transportation officials echoed earlier statements by NCTA engineers that only a short revision would be necessary.

“When the permit was initially suspended, it was anticipated that the reevaluation would be limited and quickly fixed. However, NC DOT has conducted a reevaluation that is more thorough than anticipated, and the process is not likely to be concluded until an indeterminate time in the future,” Baker wrote.

Since there is no determined time the reevaluation will be finished, Baker wrote that it is in the public’s best interest to revoke the permit.

“Once your reevaluation is completed you may submit the updated information in a new application, and we will consider it accordingly,” he wrote. “Please be aware that since your permit is revoked, no work in waters and wetlands should be under-taken.”