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Gila River Indian Community Will Appeal Freeway Decision

Gila River Indian Community

The governing body of the Gila River Indian Community has voted unanimously to appeal a recent court decision allowing construction of a freeway that would run through land the tribe holds sacred. The tribe has been fighting the South Mountain Freeway for years.

Most recently, the Gila Indian River Community, or GRIC, filed lawsuits along with a coalition of environmental and community groups, trying to block the freeway. Those suits were struck down Aug. 19 by a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the GRIC legal team will seek an injunction to stop construction while the appeal is pending.

The South Mountain Freeway would be the final piece to complete the Loop 202 and Loop 101 freeway system  and would connect Chandler to Interstate 10 in west Phoenix.

Voters approved funding for the project more than 30 years ago, but the proposed freeway has been controversial ever since.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.