Monday, October 16, 2017, various citizen-plaintiffs offered a flurry of filings in two cases related to the project. In a federal case asserting the Colorado Department of Transportation (“CDOT”) and the Federal Highway Administration’s (“FHWA”) failure to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, a plaintiff group led by developer Kyle Zeppelin responded to CDOT and FHWA’s motion to dismiss their case, offering sworn statements of two sitting Denver City Council members to rebut a statement offered by City Engineer Lesley Thomas that Denver will proceed with its controversial “Platte to Park Hill” drainage project—which the plaintiffs assert is directly tied to the I-70 expansion—even if CDOT is enjoined from paying the $60 million it has committed to contributing to that project.
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The plaintiffs expect that their requested injunction will be determined no later than early 2018, before CDOT is scheduled to begin construction. CDOT and the FHWA will have an opportunity to respond to the plaintiffs’ motion, and an injunction hearing is possible. If the injunction is granted, it would bode well for a final determination that CDOT would have to reissue an Environmental Impact Study before proceeding with the I-70 project, as “likelihood of success on the merits” is an important factor in obtaining injunctive relief. Likewise, if the injunction is granted, CDOT may not be able to help pay for the Platte to Park Hill project. If that happens, Goldhamer thinks “the City might scrap their Platte to Park Hill project. After all, they did not have any plan for it in Denver’s 2014 Storm Drainage Master Plan, before CDOT apparently realized they needed to account for more drainage issues and talked Denver into helping them out.”
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INC neighborhoods oppose the proposed expansion of I70 because it increases the health impacts on our neighborhoods and we call on Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock to halt the project until all health impacts have been eliminated.
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Opponents of the expansion want to see the I-270/I-76 route used for through traffic, with local traffic between Stapleton and downtown handled by surface streets.
Zeppelin is part of the force behind TAXI and other prominent RiNo projects, and he lives in the Globeville neighborhood with his wife and young daughters. He is funding a significant portion of the lawsuit, with the Ditch the Ditch community group also raising more than $50,000 toward the effort.
Zeppelin described himself as “unwilling to play the patronage game” and be silent about something he thinks is wrong in exchange for favorable status with city officials.
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An informational meeting organized by Colorado Department of Transportation officials was overtaken by local protesters Thursday night at the Swansea Recreation Center in Central Denver.
Officials had come to detail next-step plans on the $1.2 billion “Central 70” interstate project set to begin early next year. Construction crews will remake 10 miles of I-70 that cut through the neighborhoods of Elyria and Swansea between Interstate 25 and Chambers Road. The officials never got the chance to give their planned presentations. The protesters wanted answers, not information, and mostly, they wanted to halt the project.
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