NCDOT keeps focus on Monroe Bypass despite setbacks

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in a statement this week that officials would continue work on bringing the Monroe Bypass to Union County despite recent setbacks for the massive project.

The Federal Highway Administration withdrew its approval of the project recently, something the state transportation department called a “procedural step (that) will not impact the process before us” and the Southern Environmental Law Center called “another major setback for the $700 million … toll road project.”

The NCDOT and law center have been at odds of the project, with transportation leaders calling it vital and law center advocates saying it was being forced through without proper study or care. A court decision recently put a stop to work on the highway, which would have stretched from eastern Mecklenburg County to the Monroe area.

“This latest move by (Federal Highway Administration) marks an important milestone in the history of this misguided project,” said Senior Attorney David Farren in a law center news release. “The step allows North Carolina, with input from citizens, agencies and even the legislature, to reflect on whether this is the most effective use of our scarce transportation resources.”

Argued transportation officials in their news release, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority “remains dedicated to providing the citizens who live in the Monroe area the transportation option they have asked for – the Monroe Bypass.”

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