Injunction to stop construction on Phoenix freeway denied

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Arizona Departmernt of Transportation) (Source: Arizona Departmernt of Transportation)
(Source: Arizona Departmernt of Transportation) (Source: Arizona Departmernt of Transportation)

A federal appeals court has denied a request for an injunction stopping construction on the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway.

The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued last Friday upholds a decision by Phoenix-based U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa where she also refused to block the freeway's construction. Humetewa ruled in October that opponents aren't likely to succeed in their ongoing legal battle against the project.

 It's the fifth time courts have rejected attempts to halt construction of this long-planned link between the East Valley and West Valley.

In November 2016, the 9th Circuit denied a separate request for an emergency injunction by a different group of freeway opponents.

In October 2016, the U.S. District Court in Phoenix denied the plaintiffs' motion for an injunction, saying, in part, that they are unlikely to prevail on appeal. That followed the court's August ruling granting the motions for summary judgment by the Federal Highway Administration and ADOT, concluding that the agencies complied with federal law in moving forward with the project.

In July 2015, the court rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have halted all work leading up to the start of construction.

The appeals court could still block the freeway.

"The Arizona Department of Transportation and its partners are moving forward with construction of a freeway that will improve the quality of life in this region, connecting people with employment centers and providing a much-needed alternative to a strained Interstate 10 through downtown Phoenix," ADOT Director John Halikowski said. 

Initial work on the 22-mile-long highway began in September with construction of the main part scheduled to begin this month.

The new freeway set for completion in late 2019 will have four lanes in each direction and bypass I-10 through central Phoenix.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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