I-70 Expansion Project to Continue Despite Challenge

Federal District Judge William Martinez denied plaintiffs’ motion to stay

An order handed down by the Colorado federal district court last week cleared a major hurdle for defendants in the ongoing case to halt the Interstate 70 expansion. Judge William Martinez denied plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction filed in November that aimed to stop construction.

“Clearly, we are disappointed by Judge Martinez’s decision not to order a delay in federal funding of the I-70 project until its negative health impacts on north Denver residents can be more fully assessed,” Dr. Lloyd Burton, Colorado Sierra Club Environmental Justice team chair, said in press release. Sierra Club said it plans to conference with the group of plaintiffs — the Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood Association, the Chaffee Park Neighborhood Association and Colorado Latino Forum — to determine next steps.

“North Denver neighborhoods along the I-70 corridor already suffer far higher rates of childhood asthma attacks and congestive heart disease than anywhere else in the city; and allowing the project to go forward will only make the ongoing threats to their health that much worse,” the release said.

Defendants in the case, the Federal Highway Administration and Colorado Department of Transportation, have asserted that in order to accommodate population growth and traffic increases, portions of the viaduct that run over north Denver neighborhoods Elyria-Swansea and Globeville need to be torn down and rebuilt.

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