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Environmentalists try to halt highway project in Humboldt County

SAN FRANCISCO — Environmentalists are asking a federal judge to halt work on a highway project in Richardson Grove State Park, saying construction will damage the park's towering, ancient redwoods.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup on Thursday heard arguments from the plaintiffs and the California Department of Transportation. A ruling is expected next week.

Scheduled for January, the Caltrans project would widen a one-mile stretch of Highway 101 through the Humboldt County park. The road currently is too narrow for large semi-trucks used to ferry goods around the country, and local officials say the area's economy has suffered as a result.

The plaintiffs argue that the construction will destroy the old-growth trees' root systems, killing some of the park's famous, ancient trees.

Caltrans plans to remove 54 trees, including six redwoods.


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