The I-70 East EIS is following a process outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act. It is designed to ensure that reasonable transportation alternatives are considered, that community input plays a key role, and that the environmental and community effects are fully disclosed.
The process includes:
Issues and concerns were solicited from various agencies, the community, and others. Scoping activities included door-to-door questionnaires, block meetings, neighborhood meetings, business meetings, and corridor meetings.
2. Purpose and Need
Using the input from scoping, data gathering, and technical analysis, a purpose and need statement was developed. It served as the basis for the alternative development, screening, and environmental evaluation.
3. Evaluation Criteria
Working with the community, agencies, and other stakeholders, criteria were developed to compare the numerous alternatives that were considered.
4. Alternative Development
A full range or "master list" of alternatives, including previous and current proposals, and new ideas from the community and stakeholders were developed for consideration.
5. Alternative Screening
When the "master list" was developed, the alternatives were screened using the previously established evaluation criteria to eliminate those that were not reasonable and would not meet the purpose and need. This step is described further below: Alternative Analysis and Screening Process
6. Draft EIS (DEIS) Evaluation
The alternatives that made it through the screening process were fully evaluated in the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS is an official document issued during the process and includes a detailed analysis of the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the alternatives.
7. Formal Public Comment on Draft EIS (DEIS)
With the release of the Draft EIS, the public and agencies had an opportunity to review and comment on the Draft EIS. Public hearings were held to present the information and encourage formal comments.
8. Alternative Refinement/Modification
During this step, the project team works with the public on design and aesthetics of the alternatives to develop reasonable alternatives that address the public concerns while meeting the project's purpose and need.
9. Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS)
After developing reasonable alternatives, the Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS) is being written to include the changes in the alternatives. The Supplemental Draft EIS will be available for public comment on August 29, 2014. The public and agencies will have an opportunity to review and comment on the Supplemental Draft EIS. Public hearings, to receive comments on the document, are tentatively scheduled for September 23rd, 24th and 25th. Locations for viewing the document will be announced soon. It will also be available on this website: Reports
10. Final EIS (FEIS)
After addressing the public and agency comments, a Final EIS will be developed and published.
11. Record of Decision (ROD)
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will issue a ROD formalizing the official decision on the Preferred Alternative.
A continuous community outreach process has been integrated into every step of the project to provide residents, businesses, the traveling public, and other interested parties with an opportunity to have meaningful participation in the process.
Alternative Analysis and Screening Process
The project purpose, need, goals, and objectives were used to develop screening criteria to evaluate the alternatives in the 2008 Draft EIS. Due to the complexity of the project and a large number of initial alternatives, a four-level screening process, shown below, was used to filter the full range of alternatives considered to the set of reasonable alternatives that were fully evaluated in the 2008 Draft EIS.
Based on the 2008 Draft EIS public comments, the PACT process, and additional outreach, numerous changes were made to the alternatives. The Existing Alignment Alternatives (Alternatives 1 and 3) were revised to reduce impacts, the Realignment Alternatives (Alternatives 4 and 6) were eliminated from further consideration, and a new alternative (the Partial Cover Lowered Alternative) was introduced. During this process, the name of the Existing Alignment Alternative was changed to the Revised Viaduct Alternative for clarity. The exhibit below shows the changes to the alternatives from the 2008 Draft EIS to the Supplemental Draft EIS.
1. Initial Screening
Initial screening is a reality check that eliminates alternative elements that do not have a realistic chance of being designed and built. A series of yes-or-no questions were used to evaluate alternatives during this step.
Alternative elements were screened individually within the nine goal areas: access, capacity, community, environment, implementation, infrastructure, mobility, safety, and security. Elements not eliminated in initial screening were then refined and evaluated in comparative screening.
2. Comparative Screening
Comparative screening looked in more detail at elements to determine if some were clearly better than others. A qualitative (good/better/best) approach was used to decide the elements within each category that were more effective at meeting purpose and need or practicability.
3. Detailed Screening
Detailed screening is a quantitative (measure-based) analysis that identifies the strength of the various alternatives. The elements that remained after the second level of evaluation, comparative screening, were combined to create several corridor-wide highway alternatives. Highway alignments, lane types, and interchange locations were combined to form these highway alternatives. Interchange locations were combined for detailed analysis, but interchange types or forms were evaluated at each access location in a separate interchange screening process.
4. Alternative Refinement
Alternatives remaining after the detailed screening were fully evaluated in the DEIS to develop the best transportation solution. The evaluation considers potential effects to over 20 different social, environmental, and economic resources. These resources are listed on the Environmental page. This evaluation is more extensive than the detailed screening analysis.
5. Supplemental Draft EIS (SDEIS)
Because there was no strong support for any of the alternatives evaluated in the DEIS, the project team reviewed the alternatives in more detail to identify the issues and confirm the validity of the analysis. As a result of this review, the 2008 Draft EIS alternatives were modified and a new alternative option was developed that better met the project's purpose, need, goals, and objectives while also satisfying the public's and agencies' expectations. The project team then worked with the community and interested stakeholders along the corridor to further analyze the alternatives and develop a preferred alternative. The preferred alternative is presented on the Alternatives page.