A federal lawsuit seeking to stop the SouthEast Connector, the six-lane road under construction between east Sparks and south Reno, has been dismissed.
The Upper South East Communities Coaltion, a group of homeowners and environmental activists, voluntarily decided to drop its lawsuit after it failed to get a court injunction to stop construction of the road while the suit was litigated.
A federal judge in Sacramento rejected the coalition’s motion for a preliminary injunction in June, ruling that the group had failed to show a probability of succeeding on the merits of its complaint. That decision was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The suit contended that the project’s environmental impacts were not thoroughly analyzed in violation of federal law. The coalition said in in court documents that the project will destroy wetlands, disturb mercury-contamined soil and permanently alter the flood plain.
The Regional Transportation Commission, which is overseeing the project, said that in addition to the transportation benefits, the road will reduce air pollution, create additional and higher-quality wetlands and sequester mercury-contaminated soil
The lawsuit did not disrupt construction of the second and final phase of the road, which began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by late 2017. That phase extends 4.5 miles. The first phase, a one-mile stretch beginning at Greg Street and Sparks Boulevard, was completed in July 2014.
The road will officially be known as Veterans Parkway.
“As a transportation project, the SouthEast Connector is going to make people’s commutes easier and support connectivity to new jobs throughout the region,” RTC Executive Director Lee Gibson said in a statement.
“The RTC took the environmental issues presented by this project very seriously – it is, after all, our area’s community and ecosystem,” Gibson said.