A judge on Thursday denied a motion by the citizens group Widen I77 for a preliminary injunction that would have stopped planned toll lanes on Interstate 77 from Charlotte to Mooresville.
“We are obviously disappointed but respect the judge’s decision,” Widen I77 said on its website Thursday night.
“A preliminary injunction would have stopped the project entirely,” the group said. “Our request for a permanent injunction remains alive, and we will be meeting with counsel and as a group to discuss next steps.”
Judge W. Osmond Smith III heard arguments in the case on Tuesday at the Alamance County Historic Courthouse in Graham.
Smith was appointed to hear the group’s complaint seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against the $655 million project.
Widen I77 filed its complaint in January against the N.C. Department of Transportation and I-77 Mobility Partners LLC, a subsidiary of the project’s contractor, Cintra US.
It wasn’t clear Thursday night why Smith denied the motion for a preliminary injunction.
The project will add two toll lanes northbound and southbound on I-77 from the Brookshire Freeway in Charlotte to Exit 28 in Cornelius. It will add one toll lane in each direction from Exit 28 to Exit 36.
Cintra, which is based in Spain, will pay most of the costs and, for 50 years, will maintain and operate the lanes while collecting most of the toll revenue. Toll amounts have yet to be determined.