Court nixes challenge to Cedar Rapids highway plan

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court is throwing out a lawsuit filed by environmentalists seeking to block construction of a major Cedar Rapids highway through two nature preserves.

The court ruled Friday that that Sierra Club’s lawsuit must be dismissed because the group didn’t exhaust its administrative remedies.

Justice David Wiggins says the group should have asked the Iowa Department of Transportation to reverse its decision before filing the lawsuit.

The proposed extension of Highway 100 would run through the Rock Island County Preserve and adjacent to the Rock Island State Preserve, which environmentalists argue would threaten butterflies, turtles and other rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the highway would diminish their ability to hike and take photos there.

A similar federal lawsuit remains pending.

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