Appeals court denies rehearing of Monroe Bypass

by: Tina Terry Updated:


MONROE, N.C. - There are more roadblocks to the Monroe Bypass.  

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with environmental agencies, saying North Carolina's Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration failed to "analyze the environmental impacts of the Monroe Connector.”

The court also said the agencies conducted "flawed analysis of alternatives" and presented "materially false and misleading information" to the public. 

Last month, a court halted the roadway that would begin at the interchange of U.S. 74 at Interstate 485 in eastern Mecklenburg County and would end at U.S. 74 between the towns of Wingate and Marshville in Union County.  

This month, the NCDOT asked the court to rehear its case for the road, but Friday, the court decided against it. 

In a statement, the NCDOT said it is disappointed the court will not rehear its case. Transportation agencies were preparing to start construction this year. 

Joy McGuire, whose nonprofit was in the path of the proposed 20-mile toll road, said the latest setback to the road will help save her ministry for now. 

Earlier this year, she said plans for the road would place a median directly in front of her property.

"The median was going to block the driveway where once you get in, you could never turn left again. You could only turn right, and then you have to do a loop around to get back to Independence," she said.

Environmental groups have been fighting the bypass, claiming the environmental study was flawed. They were worried the road would impact wildlife and create air quality issues from all the cars.

The court's decision forces the DOT to look into drafting another environmental study. In a phone interview Friday, officials could not say how long that might take.

However, they promised to keep neighbors surrounding the proposed road informed.