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The City of Eufaula v. Alabama Department of Transportation

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

December 29, 2014

THE CITY OF EUFAULA, ALABAMA; EUFAULA HERITAGE ASSOCIATION; ALABAMA TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION; and NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; JOHN R. COOPER, as Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation; FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION; and MARK BARTLETT, as Division Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, Defendants

Page 1273

For The City of Eufaula, Alabama, Eufaula Heritage Association, Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Plaintiffs: Brian Lawrence Gist, LEAD ATTORNEY, Southern Environmental Law Center, Atlanta, GA; Courtney Reilly Potthoff, LEAD ATTORNEY, Williams, Potthoff, Williams & Smith, LLC, Eufaula, AL; Sarah McCarron Stokes, LEAD ATTORNEY, Southern Environmental Law Center, Birmingham, AL.

For Alabama Department of Transportation, John R. Cooper, Director, ALDOT, Defendants: George Robert Prescott, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Alabama Dept. of Transportation - Legal Bureau, Montgomery, AL; Jimmie Robert Ippolito, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Alabama Department of Transportation, Montgomery, AL.

For Federal Highway Administration, Mark Bartlett, Division Administrator, FHWA, Defendants: Jack F Gilbert, LEAD ATTORNEY, Federal Highway Admin Office of the Chief Counsel, Atlanta, GA; Stuart Gillespie, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dept of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Washington, DC; Tyler L. Burgess, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Dept of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Washington, DC.

Page 1274

OPINION

Myron H. Thompson, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This case involves a challenge to the widening from two lanes to four lanes of a road in Eufaula, Alabama's historic district.

The plaintiffs are the City of Eufaula and three historic preservation groups,[1] and the defendants are the Alabama Department of Transportation and its director, as well as the Federal Highway Administration and its division administrator.[2] The plaintiffs assert that the defendants violated § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. § 303),[3]

Page 1275

§ 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. § 470f), and the National Environmental Policy Act, also known as NEPA (42 U.S.C. § § 4321 et seq.). The court has federal-question jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The case is now before this court on the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary-restraining order. Based on the evidence and argument submitted as of December 22, 2014, the motion will be denied.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

In a motion for a temporary-restraining order or preliminary injunction, the moving party must show " (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying case, (2) the movant will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, (3) the harm suffered by the movant in the absence of an injunction would exceed the harm suffered by the opposing party if the injunction issued, and (4) an injunction would not disserve the public interest." Grizzle v. Kemp, 634 F.3d 1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).

II. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of the proposed widening of a 0.8 mile stretch of an Alabama road by the Alabama Department of Transportation.

The street at issue--North Eufaula Avenue--is located in Eufaula, Alabama, in the southeast part of the State. It currently is a two-lane road running through an historic district of town, with old houses lining each side and a 30-50 foot median of billowing trees that overhang the street. The street is featured in the Alabama Scenic Byway Program, ...


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