The Colorado Department of Transportation will pay $550,000 for a health study in the Globeville, Elyria and Swansea neighborhoods as part of a settlement agreement in a 2017 lawsuit regarding the Central 70 construction project, which broke ground in August of this year.

The lawsuit was filed by the Sierra Club, Colorado Latino Forum, Chaffee Park Neighborhood Association and Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood Association in U.S. District Court, and calls for CDOT’s study to build on a separate assessment from the city of Denver which found that residents of the neighborhoods near the project experience a higher level of chronic health conditions, according to a news release from CDOT.

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Neither the plaintiffs nor defendants in this case admitted wrongdoing.

The settlement also calls for CDOT to fund additional trees and vines along the highway’s lowered section, to monitor construction dust, and to communicate with the community during what CDOT’s website calls the “largest construction project in the state.”

Construction is anticipated to stretch into 2022.

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The Central 70 project is intended to add a new Express Lane in each direction of Interstate 70 between Interstate 25 and Chambers Road, as well as remove a 54-year-old viaduct and lower the highway between Brighton and Colorado Boulevards.

In addition, the project will add a new, 4-acre cover over I-70 between Clayton and Columbine Streets.

Phase 1 of the project is slated to cost $1.17 billion, and none of that money will come from new taxes, according to CDOT.

Construction of the Central 70 Project will impact several Denver neighborhoods that border the highway, including Globeville, Elyria-Swansea and Montbello. These are mostly low-income, largely Latino and African-American neighborhoods.

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