Judge denies request to stop construction on controversial Loop 202 expansion

By Catherine Holland
AZFamily.com

The Gila River Indian Community is looking into its legal options in the wake of a federal judge’s ruling denying its request for an injunction to stop construction on the controversial Loop 202 expansion.

The community argues that the $2 billion construction project would desecrate sacred land and damage both the community’s cultural resources and members’ quality of life.

“This is a disturbing ruling for our Community and for all of us who love, respect and honor South Mountain,” Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen R. Lewis said in a news release. “This isn’t about a road for our people. Destroying South Mountain is an attack on one of our most sacred resources. The Loop 202 extension as currently planned will destroy Muhadagi Doag and its trails, shrines and archaeological treasures.”

The South Mountain freeway will run from I-10 and Pecos Road in the East Valley to I-10 and 59th Avenue in the West Valley. Construction began last month and is expected to be complete in late 2019.

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