Denver Freeway Expansion Makes a Bad Situation Worse

The Interstate 70 expansion project is affecting air quality in surrounding neighborhoods, where chronic illness is prevalent and residents feel their health and safety have not been priorities.

July 13, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Denver Region

welcomia / Shutterstock

Photojournalist RJ Sangosti reports on residents in a part of Denver where the air quality is some of the worst in the nation and asthma rates are on the rise. "A health-impact assessment conducted by Denver in 2014 found that residents of Elyria-Swansea and Globeville experience higher incidences of chronic health conditions — including asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity — than other Denver neighborhoods."

Poor air quality has plagued the area for years, but the Colorado Department of Transportation is now also expanding Interstate 70. Residents are worried that dust and diesel pollution from the project will exacerbate health problems in the community, particularly for children with asthma living in these neighborhoods.

Sangosti says that a noise variance meeting last fall brought out a diversity of residents concerned about the construction. "[Yadira] Sanchez’s son Ruben was among them. The teenager spoke about growing up near the construction and his concerns for his mother and two younger siblings who have asthma. He wondered how four years of breathing construction dust from the expansion will affect his family."

Monday, July 1, 2019 in The Denver Post

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