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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Judge to Tour Proposed Freeway Extension Route

November 18, 1998

SOUTH PASADENA — A federal judge said Tuesday that he will visit the route of the proposed Long Beach Freeway extension before ruling on a request by South Pasadena officials for a preliminary injunction to stop further preparations for its construction.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson heard nearly three hours of arguments from government lawyers defending the project, as well as from opponents to construction of the 6.2-mile route connecting the Foothill and San Bernardino freeways.

The judge agreed to tour the route with lawyers Friday.

South Pasadena and preservationist groups filed a lawsuit in August to block construction of the $1.4-billion extension. The suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation alleges that federal officials violated several environmental laws in formally approving the project earlier this year.

Opponents are seeking a court order preventing the highway agencies from acquiring any more properties on the route or completing more design work before a trial can be held on the merits of the extension.

South Pasadena lawyer Antonio Rossman said in court that many federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, oppose the project on environmental grounds.

South Pasadena and its allies admit that after years of successfully stalling the project, the lawsuit is their last defense against the extension, which would remove about 900 homes and 6,000 trees and split the city.

After more than three decades of delays, lawsuits and environmental reviews, the Department of Transportation in April gave formal approval for the roadway.

South Pasadena residents have fought the freeway since 1965.

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