The N.C. Department of Transportation released an updated planning schedule for the proposed Monroe Bypass that, as expected, shows the projects start delayed by a legal challenge.
Transportation officials now say it will be late this year before they complete an environmental study document on the U.S. 74 bypass, which would extend from the Mecklenburg-Union line eastward to Marshville. It also will be late in 2013 before they are able to issue a record of decision, showing the path of the 19.7-mile road.
Officials earlier had hoped to complete those tasks by this spring.
But the Monroe Bypass, designed to deal with congestion on U.S. 74 through Union County, has run into legal problems in the form of the Southern Environmental Law Center.
The center, representing several environmental groups, went to court and forced the DOT to halt planning for the bypass. A federal appeals court ruled last May that the state failed to adequately study the possible impact of the road on the environment in Union County.
In its announcement Tuesday, the DOT also said the delayed schedule led the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the environmental permit for the Monroe Bypass. The DOT will not be able to apply for a new permit until the new environmental study is complete.
The permit is needed for any road that crosses water or wetlands.
The bypass is important to regional mobility, and we are working diligently to move it forward, N.C. DOT Division Engineer Louis Mitchell said. We also are committed to full transparency and disclosure throughout each step of the process.
The new schedule released Tuesday by the DOT:
Draft a supplemental environmental document -- Summer
Public comment period on the supplemental environmental document draft -- Summer
Final supplemental environmental document -- late 2013
Record of decision -- late 2013
Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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