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      Judge rejects bid to halt work on 601 bridge

      U.S. Highway 601 bridge over the Congaree River / Google

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A federal judge has denied an environmental group's bid to halt bridge work the group says could damage South Carolina's only national park.

      The state Department of Transportation said Wednesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Margaret Seymour lets the $33 million project near the Congaree National Park continue on budget and on time.

      DOT is replacing four bridges including the U.S. Highway 601 bridge over the Congaree River. The work requires filling in more than 8 acres of wetlands, but will restore more than 7 acres filled in when the current bridges were built in the 1940s.

      Engineers have said those bridges are unsafe.

      Attorney Michael Corley with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project says the organization Friends of the Congaree Swamp has not decided whether to appeal Seymour's decision.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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