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Judge Rejects South Mountain Freeway Injunction
A federal appeals court has refused to issue an emergency order to stop construction of a new Phoenix freeway. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal's action Monday means construction of the South Mountain Freeway remains on schedule.
The project is being challenged by opponents who include the Gila River Indian Community and a coalition of environmental and community groups.
A federal judge ruled in August that government agencies complied with federal law in advancing the project, and the judge in October denied a motion for an injunction to halt construction.
The new 22-mile freeway will connect with Interstate 10 on opposite sides of Phoenix, providing an alternative to I-10 through central Phoenix.
The South Mountain Freeway was approved by Maricopa County voters in 1985 and again in 2004.
Improvements to interchanges, HOV lanes and shoulders began in September. An appeal is still pending but the Arizona Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin work on the highway early next year.