Western District of Virginia: Judge Moon's Denial of Preliminary Injunction in Route 29 Lawsuit
Several months ago, business owners on Route 29 filed a lawsuit against federal and state transportation officials challenging the plan to build a grade separated interchange at Route 29 and Rio Road. The plaintiffs claimed that defendants improperly segmented a single construction project into three individual projects in order to avoid the requirements of certain federal environmental regulations. After holding an evidentiary hearing on June 1, Judge Moon denied plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction. The ruling was based on a finding that plaintiffs were not likely to succeed on the merits of their claim and a balancing of the equities.
Judge Moon began his opinion with the observation that "[t]he question of how to best address congestion on Route 29 in the Charlottesville and Albemarle County areas has long been a source of contention in the area"--quite an understatement! Traffic on Route 29 has been a hot topic of debate since a western bypass was first proposed 36 years ago in 1979.
Judge Moon's opinion is available here. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their lawsuit shortly after Judge Moon denied the preliminary injunction, and construction has been progressing since then.