Local News in Brief : Irvine : Council Will Contest Yale Overpass Lawsuit

The City Council has decided to fight a lawsuit aimed at halting all planning for a $3-million overpass for Yale Avenue at the Santa Fe railroad tracks in central Irvine.

After a 20-minute closed-door meeting Tuesday night, the council announced that it will defend the suit in Superior Court in Santa Ana.

Mayor Larry Agran and Councilman Ed Dornan, who oppose the railroad overpass, voted not to fight the suit. The two men said they agree with the suit, which contends that the city should conduct a new environmental impact report on the bridge because its first report was flawed.

The lawsuit was filed in early December, after the council voted 3 to 2 to build the overpass following an emotional debate. Opponents of the project on Yale south of Walnut Avenue in the Deerfield Village area gathered more than 3,200 signatures against the project.

Homeowners in the area fear that motorists who now use Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road to travel north and south through the city would begin using Yale, exposing many quiet neighborhood to noise, pollution and safety problems.

Three Irvine residents who live near the proposed overpass filed the suit, but it has the financial backing of Citizens Against Unsafe Traffic in Our Neighborhoods, a group of homeowners.

In explaining his vote, Dornan said defending the lawsuit will be expensive and cost the city "a lot of good will" with residents.

No court date to hear the case has been set.

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