A judge has ruled that the Pennsylvania DOT can begin construction of I-99 across Bald Eagle Mountain between Altoona and State College, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
The construction had been opposed by the state Game Commission on the grounds that the highway would disrupt the wildlife habitat.
PennDOT and the Game Commission landed in court when they could not reach a deal to let PennDOT use 68 acres of the commissions 1,947 acres of game land. PennDOT went to court to condemn the land, and the Game Commission went to court to object.
Blair County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Peoples wrote that the Game Commission has no legal power to veto PennDOT decisions on highway locations.
He went on to say that no law bars PennDOT from condemning public-use land, such as game land, as long as the agency has no good alternative and minimizes the harm caused by the construction.
PennDOT chose the Bald Eagle Mountain site for I-99 over the lightly populated valley below.
The Game Commission is considering whether to appeal the ruling.