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Environmental groups ask court to halt US 74 bypass progress

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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) -- Environmental groups are asking a federal judge to block progress on a toll road intended to reach the spreading suburbs of North Carolina's largest city. The groups represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center said Wednesday they've asked the court to act now to halt the start of construction on the Monroe Connector/Bypass.

The toll highway would run about 20 miles in Union and Mecklenburg counties. The state Transportation Department aims to break ground within months.

The environmentalists contend road planners misled the public about the highway's air and water impact and ignored cheaper alternatives.

State officials declined comment Wednesday. Attorneys representing the federal agencies developing the highway project did not respond.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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