The North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Clean Air Carolina and the Yadkin Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit attacking the environmental aspects of the project and asking a federal judge to issue an injunction that would put the project on hold.
“I certainly don't like the idea of being hoodwinked by environmental analysis,” said Wildlife Federation Executive Director Tim Gestwicki. “I think the studies need to go back to the drawing board.”
The groups said the 19-mile bypass would create major air quality issues and more traffic, at a time when the area is already in danger of losing federal highway funding. According to the plaintiffs, officials connected to the project left out important information, didn't correct wrong statements and misled the public.
Those leaders, however, defended the project and the studies done.
“The Turnpike Authority is confident in the integrity of the environmental studies we've worked on for the past four years,” Reid Simons, with the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, said.
The project is staying on track, though. It's getting permits and is scheduled to nail down financial issues next month, break ground in January and open in 2014.
A date for a judge to rule on the injunction has not been set.