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The State

January 14, 1987

Construction of a 4.5-mile inland road around the Devil's Slide area on the San Mateo County coast was blocked by a federal judge, who said officials failed to consider alternatives to a route through a state park. Accusing federal transportation officials of granting approval of the project last September--a day before a scheduled court hearing in order to avoid review--San Francisco's Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Peckham temporarily barred construction of the $52-million bypass road. Before approval, the U.S. Department of Transportation must find that there is no reasonable alternative to using a portion of McNee Ranch State Park, and that all possible planning has been done to protect the park from harm, Peckham said. Federal law prohibits federal funding of a highway that uses state parkland unless there is no "prudent and feasible" alternative, and all steps have been taken to protect the park.

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