Ten reasons to oppose I-70 expansion

Stop I-70 expansionHigh Country Earth First has set its sights on halting expansion of Interstate 70 through Colorado. This is more than a fight over urban neighborhoods, or Rocky Mountain foothills to be despoiled. The expansion of I-70, like I-29 and others, is about bulking up America’s commercial trucking thoroughfares, the infrastructure critical to greater NAFTA globalism, and the veins into which America feeds its addiction to oil.

Here’s the HCEF flier being distributed to Denver residences.

TOP TEN REASONS TO OPPOSE I-70 EXPANSION

Environmental Racism – More than 90% of the people in Elyria / Swansea neighborhood are people of color and about 30% are officially low-income. Even the government’s official Draft Environmental Impact Statement admits the expansion would have a disproportionate impact on minority and low-income people.

Pollution – I-70 expansion would multiply the long-term impact of noise and air pollution on the community in Elyria / Swansea. Emissions of some air pollutants are expected to increase by 50% in the next 20 years if I-70 is expanded. During the three years of construction, additional noise and air pollution would be created.

Displacement – I-70 realignment would demolish 18 to 53 homes in Elyria/ Swansea. The neighborhood post office would be lost, and residents would have to travel 2 or 3 miles to the nearest post office. Many low-income residents will have to find housing outside of Denver, increasing community destruction.

Job Loss – I-70 realignment would displace 52-58 businesses. The National Western Stock Show, which hires many local residents for temporary labor, would be moved to a new location. Other neighborhood emplowers will also be displaced by expansion or re-routing. Food Access – One of the two grocery stores in the neighborhood, a Latino grocery, would be demolished. The area of North Denver is already underserved by grocers; eliminating more only increases the problem.

Recreation – The I-70 realignment plan would place a vehicle bypass near Elyria Park, increasing vehicle noise, and would create new barriers to the Park by way of increased traffic. This will further the death of the neighborhood by making it even less enjoyable to live in.

Hazardous Wastes – Construction would disturb over 100 acres of hazardous materials sites where arsenic, lead, cadmium, and contaminated soil and groundwater are located. Increased trucking on I-70 will bring greater amounts of haz-mat through the area as well, increasing the risk of accidens and spills.

Land Use – The plan requires over 300 acres of urban land acquisition including 10-41 residential properties, 101-142 commercial properties, and 17 acres of Open Space, space that could be used for homes, schools, gardens, playgrounds, parks, and, more.

Cost – Expansion would cost between $1.3 and $1.9 billion, plus $7 to $10 million yearly in additional maintenance. This at a time when human services is facing massive cuts and education is on a $300 million chopping block.

Wildlife – Realignment would destroy 220 acres of resident mule deer area, 205 acres white tail deer overall range, 50 acres bald eagle winter range and winter prey, 21 acres prarie dog habitat, and increased invasive/noxious weed infestations.

The real solution isn’t expanding the highway, but reducing the traffic. Rather than displacing a neighborhood, destroying the environment, and contributing to global warming, lets create solutions that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and cars.

The I-70 expansion, what is it? The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has decided that Interstate 70, the main east/west freeway through Denver needs to be expanded in the section which passes through north Denver, from its intersection with I-25 to Quebec street.

There are two main proposals being considered by CDOT. The first would expand the current viaduct from six to ten lanes and keep I-70 in its current location. The second proposal, and the one favored by the power brokers in Denver, is to reroute (detour) I-70 north from its intersection with I-25 along the Platte river/Brighton boulevard area, and then connect up with highway 270 to where in reconnects with the current I-70 path at Quebec street. This expansion/detour would be eight lanes and add roughly 2 miles to the length of I-70 through this section. The cost for these proposals ranges from 1.25 to 2 BILLION dollars. Either expansion will gut the neighborhoods of Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea, and increase air pollution in other North Denver neighborhoods. These plans are discussed in detail in the Environmental Impact Statement which can be found at www.i-70east.com/

But do we even need an I-70 expansion? CDOT justifies this expansion by saying that we need to expand I-70 to meet future traffic needs, based on growth in the eastern suburbs. However, this urban sprawl is completely unsustainable and may not even happen considering the housing market. The real reason CDOT wants to expand I-70 is to decrease congestion for cross-country truck traffic. Minor slowdowns in urban areas can cost trucking companies millions of dollars; CDOT is really working for the trucking companies, not us.

There’s no real reason to expand I-70. And considering the costs, financially and otherwise (see other side) it seems like more than just a stupid idea but also a downright bad one. Several groups are working to prevent the expansion. They need you to succeed.

Email: noi70expansion@gmail.com to get involved.

NMT

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