By Melissa Garcia
DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado Department of Transportation commissioners unanimously approved a $600,000 settlement Thursday in connection with the Central 70 Project. CDOT will pay $550,000 for a health research study and an additional $50,000 for air testing and monitoring, along with landscaping along the central Interstate 70 corridor.
Non-profit organizations, including the Sierra Club, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in July of 2017.
The upcoming health study will help to determine how air quality around the Central 70 Project is impacting those who live in the area.
“We’re at last going to find out what is making these people so much sicker than all of the other communities in Denver,” said Becky English, who represents the Sierra Club. “We’re delighted that finally the State of Colorado has decided that it’s worth it to do a comprehensive study.”
The interstate widening and revitalization project broke ground in August after other lawsuits failed to stop construction between Brighton Boulevard and Chambers Road.
CDOT officials said the expansion will improve the area through community projects, better drainage systems and more efficient traffic flow.
“We’re also building a four-acre park over the interstate which is going to allow for more places for our children to play,” said Stacia Stellers, a spokesperson for CDOT. “We are holding ourselves and our contractor accountable to make sure that we’re addressing any health impacts.”
CDOT will pay the settlement amount using contingency funds that are already built into the project.