Groups File Lawsuit To Stop South Mountain Freeway Construction

By Carrie Jung
Published: Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 4:36pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 12:28pm
(Photo by Carrie Jung - KJZZ)
The groups filed the lawsuit opposing the South Mountain Freeway on May 19, 2015.

A coalition of environmental and community organizations have filed a lawsuit to stop construction of the South Mountain Freeway. The suit was filed against the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

The state received final federal approval to move forward with the project in March.

"We say to ADOT, move the freeway somewhere else," said Pat Lawlis, the president of Protecting Arizona's Resources and Children, one of the groups filing suit. "Or just scrap the idea. Our children, seniors and sacred mountains deserve nothing less than this level of respect and protection."

Lawlis and other opponents argue ADOT didn’t adequately consider the project's impacts on public health, groundwater resources and areas considered sacred by some Native American tribes.

Officials with ADOT said thorough air-quality and environmental-impact studies were conducted and that any legal challenge will show the law was followed.

"The modern planning for this freeway really has revised the environmental impact statement and all of the analysis to look at the current day situation, the current realities of what we're facing both in traffic and in the environment," said ADOT spokesman Tim Tait.

The proposed Loop 202 expansion would connect Interstate 10 at Pecos Road in Chandler and 59th Avenue in Phoenix.

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