Bridge Project Manager Pleads Guilty in North Carolina
Release Date: 10/14/2004(10/14/04) Michael E. Hillyer of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., project manager for Balfour Beatty Construction Inc. (BBC), a subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based Balfour Beatty, PLC, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C., to conspiring to violate the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) and the Clean Water Act, and to a substantive violation of the RHA. As project manager for BBC, Hillyer oversaw the dredging of a portion of the Croatan Sound and supervised the discharge of the dredged spoil into the Sound in October 2002. BBC did not have a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to do this work. The violations occurred when BBC's employees removed a temporary load-out trestle that had been constructed in shallow water near Manns Harbor as part of the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge construction project. The five-mile bridge spans the Sound from Manns Harbor to Manteo. In order to get a crane to the trestle site, BBC employees used backwash from a tugboat propeller to cut a channel next to the trestle. As a result, 5500 cubic yards of dredged spoil was expelled from the channel and deposited on approximately 8.2 acres of habitat on the sound bottom. Croatan Sound has been designated as high quality waters, and covering habitat can injure fish and wildlife. When sentenced, Hillyer faces a maximum penalty of up to four years in prison and/or a maximum fine of up to $500,000. BBC and two other BBC employees have already pleaded guilty in this case. The case was investigated by the Charlotte Office of EPA's Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Contact: John Millett 202-564-7842 / firstname.lastname@example.org