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Court Ruling Setback For Garden Parkway Toll Road

The proposed 22-mile Garden Parkway would have run from western Mecklenburg to Gaston County.

A federal judge ruled that state and national transportation officials violated federal laws in the planning of the proposed controversial Garden Parkway toll road in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.

In Friday’s ruling, federal district court Judge James Dever determined that state and federal transportation officials used flawed data in figuring out what impact the proposed toll road would have on the region. As a result, the judge said officials failed to take a close enough look at the effect the project would have on the environment, a clear violation of the federal National Environmental Policy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

The ruling is a major setback for the proposed 22-mile Garden Parkway, which would go from I-485 south of the airport through Gaston County and up I-85. The nearly $900 million proposed toll road was touted as a way to ease congestion in those areas. However, many residents opposed it because homes would be razed for the highway and some studies predicted an increase in pollution and environmental damages, plus a loss of 300 jobs in the area.

The parkway, once an almost certainty to be constructed, is now number 175 on the state’s priority list of 399 transportation projects.