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Groups shun NC critics, appeal Bonner Bridge case

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Environmentalists are not backing away from a lawsuit over replacing the only bridge to much of North Carolina's Outer Banks, continuing a court fight despite pressure from politicians.

Lawyers for the Southern Environmental Law Center told a federal appeals court that North Carolina's plans to replace the Bonner Bridge do not explain how to keep open the road through a wildlife refuge frequently cut off by storms and migrating sand.

The appeal was filed as North Carolina's top two state lawmakers on Tuesday again blasted the group as risking the lives and livelihoods of Hatteras Island residents now without road access.

The 50-year-old bridge was closed suddenly last week after inspections discovered that sand washed away from support columns had made the span too dangerous for traffic.

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