Feldmann Nagel Margulis attorney David Steinberger is currently representing nearly 100 Highlands Ranch households living alongside C-470, a four-lane highway which is set for a $276 million expansion project, in a lawsuit against Colorado Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Last week, a federal judge heard arguments for why the project should be halted as construction is about to begin.
Mr. Steinberger has argued that his clients have been trying unsuccessfully for more than a year and a half to have CDOT conduct a noise study before building new toll lanes on the highway. He claims that CDOT hasn’t completed a long-term noise analysis and modeling required of it by the national Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that the public has not been given the chance to fully weigh in on the issue.
The homeowners are pushing for sound walls to be erected along the south side of C-470. According to one neighbor involved in the lawsuit, noise from the C-470 is so loud in his neighborhood that his kids can’t hear him when he calls to them in the backyard, nor can he hear his television unless he closes his windows and turns on his air conditioning. He expects that the problem will dramatically worsen with the addition of more lanes.
Counsel for the Federal Highway Administration argues that highway officials did what they were required to do in terms of noise analysis, and that all protocols on public notification and input have been strictly followed over the past three years. Steinberger argues that if CDOT is allowed to begin construction without addressing the neighbors’ concerns, it would be the equivalent of the “train leaving the station.” According to Steinberger, CDOT should not be allowed to set a poor precedent by initially failing to adhere to NEPA requirements and then be allowed to make concessions on the fly “when it is called to task.”