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  Environmental Policy Issues

Highways and Environmental Impact Issues
(Released April 2005)

 

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  1. BOULDER CITY/US 93 CORRIDOR STUDY, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA.

    EPA number: 020093D, y Administration, Carson City, Nevada, March 4, 2002; 569 pages and maps.

    PURPOSE: The improvement of 10.4 miles of US 93 in the vicinity of Boulder City, Clark County, Nevada is proposed. The study corridor extends from US 95 in the city of Henderson on the west to a point 4.7 miles east of downtown Boulder City at the planned western end of the Hoover Dam Bypass project. Within the study corridor, US 93 varies from a four-lane divided roadway to a two-lane roadway, with numerous business driveway access points and cross streets. The various roadway cross-sections and other deficiencies result in peak hour traffic congestion and a high accident rate. Four alternatives, including a No Action Alternative (Alternative A), are considered in this draft EIS. Alternative B would involve a general widening of existing US 93 and other roadway improvements within the study corridor limits. The alternative would make improvements to the existing 11 miles of roadway, mostly within the existing US 93 rights-of-way. The improved facility would consist of a four-lane divided freeway. Alternative C would provide a new through-town freeway connecting the western and eastern study termini. It would consist of a continuous four-lane, controlled-access freeway parallel to existing US 93. Alternative D would provide a southern bypass of Boulder City. It would consist of a continuous four-lane, controlled access divided freeway bypassing the developed area of the city to the south. Depending on the action alternative considered, costs of the project range from $220 million to $345 million in 2002 dollars. POSITIVE IMPACTS: The project would provide overall transportation improvements within the corridor, improving regional mobility and reducing the number of accidents affecting users of the facility. Local circulation and access would be maintained or improved. Noise levels and air pollution emissions along the existing corridor would decline regardless of the action alterative selected. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Rights-of-way requirements for the action alternatives would result in the displacement of 327 to 679 acres of wildlife habitat, including habitat for Gila monsters and bats under Alternative D, up to 5.82 acres of wetlands and 14.2 acres of Waters of the U.S., and 10.4 to 29.9 acres of floodplain, Five businesses would be displaced under Alternative B. Two to six archaeological sites and six to 10 historic sites would be affected by the project. The project would affect one acre of the River Mountains Loop Trail, 76 acres of a planned public golf course, and/or 85 acres of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Water quality in the desert washes that drain the project area could be degraded due to stormwater runoff from the highway. LEGAL MANDATES: Department of Transportation Act of 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.), National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601).

  2. US 95, LAS VEGAS, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA.

    EPA number: 990450F, Volume I--571 pages and maps, Volume II (Map Supplement)--75 pages, Volume III--701 pages, November 26, 1999

    PURPOSE: The implementation of roadway, safety, and transit improvements along US 95, Summerlin Parkway, and the local and arterial road network, located in the Northwest Region of Las Vegas in southeastern Nevada, is proposed. The Northwest Region comprises the portion of Las Vegas Valley north of Desert Inn Road and west of Interstate 15 (I-15) and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The proposed project resulted from the US 95 Major Investment Study, which identified and evaluated a range of alternatives to improve transportation in the project area. Three alternatives, including a No-Build Alternative, are considered in this final EIS. The proposed action would involve the widening of US 95 and Summerlin Parkway, the construction of arterial street connections, arterial street improvements, transit system improvements, and transportation demand management (TDM) measures. The preferred alternative (Alternative A), which has been adopted by the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas and Clark County, would involve the widening of US 95 to 10 lanes from Rainbow Boulevard to I-15 and to six lanes from Craig Road to Rainbow Boulevard, the widening of Summerlin Parkway from Rampart Road to Rainbow Boulevard, the construction of high- occupancy-vehicle lanes as the median lane on US 95 and Summerlin Parkway, and the installation of a freeway management system on US 95. Arterial street connections would include facilities connecting Martin Luther King Boulevard to Industrial Road Connector, and the Rancho Drive to Alta Drive Connector. The arterial street improvements would include the widening from four to six lanes of Desert Inn Road from Durango Drive to Jones Boulevard, Martin Luther King Boulevard from Craig Road to Charleston Boulevard, Valley View Drive from Sahara Avenue to Desert Inn Road, Durango Drive from Desert Inn Road to Edna Avenue, and Rancho Drive from Craig Road south to US 95, as well as the widening to four lanes of Arville Street from Charleston Boulevard to Sahara Avenue, Carey Avenue from Rancho Drive to Clayton Street, Tenaya Way from Westcliff Drive to Smoke Ranch Road, and Torrey Pines Drive from Washington Avenue to Craig Road. Transit system improvements would include the adoption of an enhanced Citizens Action Transit bus service and the development of park-and-ride lots. TDM measures would the involve the adoption of an expanded rideshare program. Alternative B would mirror Alternative A, except for the alignment of US 95. The estimated capital and operating costs of Alternative A and Alternative B are $837.0 million and $866.1 million, respectively. POSITIVE IMPACTS: The plan implementation would provide a coherent transportation strategy to meet the short, intermediate, and long-term transportation demands of the Northwest Region of Las Vegas. The project would improve transportation by increasing regional roadway capacity, increasing transit service, improving regional level of service, improving safety, improving operational efficiency of the transportation system, and increasing mobility options available to the traveling public. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: The rights-of-way development would result in the displacement of 344 to 296 residential units and 55 commercial establishments, and the destruction of six to 20 acres of natural wildlife and vegetation habitat and the encroachment on several community facilities, including school properties, a pedestrian and cycle path, outdoor parks, and recreation facilities. Alternative B would involve the widening of US 95 into the Las Vegas Valley Water District North Well Field, directly affecting water production and distribution facilities and sensitive natural, biological, and cultural resources, including the Las Vegas Springs Site, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The project would also adversely affect potable water wells and utilities serving the project area. LEGAL MANDATES: Department of Transportation Act of 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.), National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 99-0283D, Volume 23, Number 3.

  3. SOUTHERN SEGMENT OF THE LAS VEGAS BELTWAY, CLARK COUNTY, NEVADA.

    EPA number: 920248F, 2 volumes and maps, June 24, 1992

    PURPOSE: Construction of the Southern Segment of the Las Vegas Beltway in Clark County, Nevada, is proposed. The project would consist of a multilane controlled-access freeway extending approximately 20 miles from the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Durango Drive on the west to US 93 (Boulder Highway) on the east. The project would extend through south Las Vegas and north Henderson, continue to the south of McCarran International Airport, and terminate at or near Boulder Highway in Henderson between Sunset Avenue and Lake Mead Drive. Three design alternatives (Alternatives C, E, and G) are under consideration. Depending on the alternative selected and the section of the corridor under consideration, the freeway would consist of four, six, or eight lanes. System-to-system interchanges would be provided at Interstate 15 (I-15) and US 95. Interchanges would also be provided at major north-south arterials, including Buffalo Drive (Alternative C only), Rainbow Boulevard, Decatur Boulevard, Las Vegas Boulevard (Alternatives E and G only), Bermuda Road, Eastern Avenue, Pecos Road, Green Valley Parkway, Valle Verde Drive (Alternative E only), and Stephanie Street, and at major east-west arterials, including Tropicana Avenue, Russell Road, Warm Springs Road (Alternatives E and G only), and Windmill Road (Alternative E only). All alternatives would include an Airport Connector linking the freeway and I-15 directly to the airport. Alternatives E and G would provide this linkage via a tunnel extension, while Alternative C would provide interchange connections along I-15 that would link the freeway to the airport via a roadway and tunnel. Alternative E has been designated as the preferred alternative. The estimated construction and right-of-way costs of Alternative E are $547 million, and the estimated benefit-cost ratio is 2.5. The estimated costs of the Airport Connector are $225 million. POSITIVE IMPACTS: Freeway availability within the Southern Segment corridor would provide the vehicular capacity necessary for current and projected traffic needs. Efficient east-west travel in the vicinity of Las Vegas and to and from McCarran International Airport would be facilitated. Existing congestion would be alleviated and future congestion would be forestalled. Emerging residential, commercial, and industrial areas within the corridor would be enhanced, and regional air quality would be improved. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: The preferred alternative would require approximately 1,227 acres of right-of-way, including 240 acres of Bureau of Land Management land. Right-of-way requirements would result in the displacement of four businesses and 83 dwellings, affecting 219 residents. An estimated 288 acres would be placed under pavement. Approximately 678 acres of potential habitat for the threatened desert tortoise would be displaced. Air quality in the immediate area, which is designated as a nonattainment area under federal standards, would be degraded slightly. Federal noise standards would be violated at a number of locations. LEGAL MANDATES: Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 92-0037D, Volume 16, Number 1.

  4. IRONTON-RUSSELL BRIDGE REPLACEMENT PROJECT, IRONTON, OHIO AND RUSSELL, KENTUCKY.

    EPA number: 030023F, 302 pages and maps, January 14, 2003

    PURPOSE: The replacement of the existing functionally obsolete and structurally deficient Ironton-Russell Bridge in Lawrence County, Ohio with Greenup County, Kentucky is proposed. The bridge, which spans the Ohio River at mile post 327.1, was built in 1922 to connect the communities of Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Kentucky. Access to the bridge is impeded by the 90-degree approaches that slow the continuous flow of traffic. Having a cantilevered truss design, the bridge's center span is supported by a typical pin-and-hanger arrangement that is non-redundant and could result in the loss of structural integrity if one or more of the pins should fail. Upkeep of the bridge has proven expensive. Five feasible alternatives and a No Action Alternative are considered in this final EIS. The preferred alternative (Option B/C-3A) would involve replacement of the existing bridge with a new bridge at a new location. The new bridge would be served by improved approaches. POSITIVE IMPACTS: Replacement of the bridge would provide a safe and efficient crossing to allow rapid access between the communities of Ironton and Russell. The project would expand crossing capacity to meet the demands of the growing communities and, thereby, improving the quality of life in the area, a top priority of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Ohio's Governor's Office of Appalachia. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Rights-of-way requirements for the preferred alternative would result in the displacement of eight residences and six commercial enterprise as well as parking spaces and other property from three other enterprises. Aerial crossings of two railroad lines and one business would be required. The alternative would require demolition of the existing bridge, which is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as a selected bridge in the Ohio Historic Bridge Inventory Evaluation and Preservation Plan. Access to certain local streets would be closed, and certain streets would be affected by higher traffic volumes LEGAL MANDATES: Department of Transportation Act of 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.), Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, as amended (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.), National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), River and Harbor Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 401 et seq.), and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601). PRIOR REFERENCES: For the abstract of the draft EIS, see 02-0326D, Volume 26, Number 3.

  5. INTERCOUNTY CONNECTOR, I-270 TO US 1, MONTGOMERY AND PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTIES, MARYLAND.

    EPA number: 970125D, Volume I--427 pages and maps, Volume II--581 pages and maps, Volume III--821 pages and maps, Volume IV--159 maps, April 2, 1997

    PURPOSE: The construction of a highway, the Intercounty Connector (ICC), between the Interstate 270 (I-270) corridor near Rockville and Gaithersburg and the I-95 corridor near Laurel, Maryland, is proposed. Currently, the I-270 corridor is linked to the I-95 corridor by I-495, the beltway around Washington, District of Columbia. Issues of concern include the effects on the social environment, cultural resources, the natural environment, air quality, and noise levels. Five alternatives, including a No-Build Alternative, are considered in this draft EIS. The Upgrade Existing Roads Alternative would include widening the existing east-west roads, increasing the capacity of the major intersections, providing a commuter parking lot in northern Montgomery County, and improving bus service between the Rockville/Shady Grove area and Laurel, Maryland. The Master Plan Alternative (MPA) would involve the construction of a six-lane divided, multimodal facility with full-access control, extending from existing I-370 near Shady Grove to US 1 south of Laurel, a distance of 17.5 miles. The Northern Alternative would have the same design features as the MPA but a slightly different alignment for a 19.4-mile-long facility. The Midcounty Highway/MD 198 Alternative would involve the construction of a six-lane, divided highway with a 30-foot-wide median and a parkway-type design. The 16.7-mile-long facility would reuse a portion of existing MD 198. The estimated costs of the ICC range from $460.0 million to $1.1 billion. POSITIVE IMPACTS: The ICC would provide additional access between I-270 and I-95. It could help relieve congestion along I-270, I-495, and existing east-west roadways and sustain regional economic growth patterns. The improvements could also reduce the number of accidents on area roads. NEGATIVE IMPACTS: Rights-of-way requirements under the action alternatives would displace up to 139 residences, 35 businesses, 145 acres of parkland, 165 acres of active farmland, 21.5 acres of wetlands, 60 acres of floodplain, 552 acres of forest, portions of seven historic properties, and two archeological sites. In addition, up to 77 streams and 60.1 acres of floodplain would be crossed. The facility would adversely affect noise levels at up to 61 sites. None of the ICC alternatives would have a substantial impact on the levels of service experienced by motorists on I-495, I-270, or I-95 within the study area. LEGAL MANDATES: Department of Transportation Act of 1966, as amended (49 U.S.C. 1651 et seq.), and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4601).

  6. Effects of Roadway Crossings on Leaf Litter Processing and Invertebrate Assemblages in Small Streams

    Woodcock, TS; Huryn, AD

    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment [Environ. Monit. Assess.]. Vol. 93, no. 1-3, pp. 229-250. Apr 2004.

    The effects of the Maine Turnpike (Interstate 95) on leaf litter processing were examined in five first- and second-order coastal plain streams in southern Maine, U.S.A. Invertebrate assemblages and red maple leaf softening and loss rates were compared at 53 stations arrayed upstream and downstream of the turnpike. Litter softening rate was not affected by the roadway. Litter loss rate was significantly faster at downstream stations (-0.0024 degree-day super(-1)) than at upstream stations or at stations nearest the roadway, which were not different from each other (-0.0022 degree-day super(-1)). Litter softening and loss rates were more strongly related to physical and chemical habitat variables than to shredder assemblage characteristics. Significant among-stream differences were observed in most community structural metrics and in biomass of important shredder taxa, but effects of the roadway were rarely consistent among streams. This is attributed in part to habitat variation, which was greater among streams than within streams. This study suggests that while the presence of the Maine Turnpike may influence stream water quality and habitat structure, the relatively subtle effects of roadway runoff and associated habitat modifications on stream ecosystem processes are masked by within- and among-stream variability in litter processing and leaf pack invertebrate assemblage structure.

  7. Environmental impact of highway construction and repair materials on surface and ground waters. Case study: crumb rubber asphalt concrete.

    Azizian, MF; Nelson, PO; Thayumanavan, P; Williamson, KJ

    Waste management (New York, N.Y.), 2003, 23(8):719-28

    The practice of incorporating certain waste products into highway construction and repair materials (CRMs) has become more popular. These practices have prompted the National Academy of Science, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) to research the possible impacts of these CRMs on the quality of surface and ground waters. State department of transportations (DOTs) are currently experimenting with use of ground tire rubber ( crumb rubber) in bituminous construction and as a crack sealer. Crumb rubber asphalt concrete (CR-AC) leachates contain a mixture of organic and metallic contaminants. Benzothiazole and 2(3H)-benzothiazolone (organic compounds used in tire rubber manufacturing) and the metals mercury and aluminum were leached in potentially harmful concentrations (exceeding toxic concentrations for aquatic toxicity tests). CR-AC leachate exhibited moderate to high toxicity for algae ( Selenastrum capriconutum) and moderate toxicity for water fleas ( Daphnia magna). Benzothiazole was readily removed from CR-AC leachate by the environmental processes of soil sorption, volatilization, and biodegradation. Metals, which do not volatilize or photochemically or biologically degrade, were removed from the leachate by soil sorption. Contaminants from CR-AC leachates are thus degraded or retarded in their transport through nearby soils and ground waters.

  8. Development of a GIS-based urban air quality modelling system for transport-related pollution.

    Reynolds, A W; Broderick, B M

    International Journal of Environment and Pollution. Vol. 16, no. 1-6, pp. 507-518. 2001

    In recent years motor vehicles have become the dominant source of air pollution in metropolitan areas. Hence, the assessment of transport-related air quality is of major concern to policymakers and municipal planners. This paper describes an urban air quality modelling system for evaluating the environmental effects of transport related air pollution. A preliminary evaluation of the model has been performed for one site in Dublin using data from an extensive monitoring and measuring campaign. Observed pollutant concentrations compare well with predicted concentrations using local conditions, e.g. site geometry, traffic activity, meteorology, and vehicle population.

  9. Exploration of techniques and policies of environmental impact assessment (EIA) for highway construction projects

    Zhang, Yu-Fen

    China Environmental Science [China Environ. Sci.]. Vol. 20, suppl., pp. 95-97. 20 Dec 2000.

    In this paper, three aspects of the techniques and policies of environmental impact assessment (EIA) for highway construction projects are explored. The first is functions and professional limits of the assessment. The second is stages and tasks of the work. The third is the examination of the outline of EIA and the statement of environmental impact. The EIA for highway construction projects would run through the whole process of engineering construction to prevent environmental pollution and promote coordinated development between environment and highway construction.

  10. Impact of road traffic emissions on air quality of the Lisbon region

    Borrego, C; Tchepel, O; Barros, N; Miranda, A I

    Atmospheric Environment. Vol. 34, no. 27, pp. 4683-4690. Sept. 2000

    The main purpose of this paper is to present the study of traffic emissions impact on the Lisbon region air quality. Two approaches of emission data generation with high spatial and temporal resolution are presented and compared. Main roads were processed as line sources and hot on-road emissions were calculated based on daily mean traffic and emission factors distinguished for several road classes and vehicle types. Also, the disaggregation of national CORINAIR inventory has been performed on the basis of statistical information of fuel consumption and population density. The comparison of emission data obtained by these two approaches demonstrates a good agreement for total values, but a significant difference for spatial distribution of the data. To ensure completeness of the data, to improve their spatial resolution and also to analyze the impact of the traffic emissions, a combination of the two approaches was applied to generate the emission data used by a photochemical numerical system to simulate the atmospheric circulation and the air pollution pattern in Lisbon under summer meteorological conditions, having different emission scenarios. It was possible to conclude that an air pollution abatement strategy is urgently needed and it should take into account the strong contribution of road traffic emissions to the Lisbon air pollution levels.

  11. Sustainable transport for the developing world: The social and environmental nexus

    Faiz, Asif

    PROC CONF TRANSPORT PLAN AIR QUALITY. no. 1, pp. 218-227. 2000.

    For economic development, transport is essential. The costs of agricultural production is lowered by improvements in rural transport. Inappropriately designed transport systems can damage the environment. It is essential to ensure that a sound economic and financial capability exists to support transport improvements. Transport must generate the greatest possible improvement in the general quality of life. Social sustainability demands that transport strategies are designed to provide the poor with affordable physical access to employment. The role to achieve the goals of sustainable transportation must be redefined by the governments.

  12. Investigation of roadside concentrations in busy streets using the model GRAM: Conditions leading to high short-term concentrations

    Fisher, B E A; Sokhi, R S

    International Journal of Environment and Pollution. Vol. 14, no. 1-6, pp. 488-495. 2000

    A new air quality assessment model GRAM, based on current Gaussian models, is described. It has been specifically designed for convenient assessment of air quality concentrations in relation to new air quality standards. Particular attention is paid to short-term peak concentrations. Factors which are likely to lead to high roadside concentrations are described. It is shown that none of the factors will lead to extremes much greater than the simple algorithms adopted in the model, suggesting that a simple approach can be adopted to identify areas where standards may be exceeded at some future date: usually 2005 is considered in air quality strategies.

  13. Monitoring and assessment of exhaust emission in Bangkok street air

    Muttamara, S; Leong, S T

    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 163-180. Jan. 2000

    Measurement of the exhaust emission from gasoline-powered motor vehicles in Bangkok were performed on chassis dynamometer. A fleet of 10 vehicles of different model, years and manufacturers were selected to measure the air pollutants in the exhaust effluent. The study revealed that the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions averaged 32.3-64.2 and 1.82-2.98 g km super(-1), respectively, for 1990-1992 cars and decreased to 17.8-40.71 and 0.75-1.88 g km super(-1), respectively, for 1994-1995 cars. A monitoring program for air pollutant concentrations in ambient air was also conducted to evaluate the air pollution problems in Bangkok arising from vehicle exhaust emission. Four air sampling stations were strategically established to cover the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR). Composite air samples in this study area were collected during the day/night times and weekday/weekend. The average concentrations of suspended particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide in Bangkok street air were found to be 0.65 mg /m super(3) (24 hr ave.), 19.02 mg/m super(3) (8 hr ave.) and 0.021 mg/m super(3) (1 hr ave.), respectively. The average concentrations of benzene and toluene in the ambient air of the study area were found to be 15.07-50.20 and 25.76-130.95 mu g/m super(3), respectively, for 8 hr average. These results indicated that there was a significant increase in air pollutant emissions with increasing car mileage and model year. Subsequent analysis of data showed that there were only 20% of the test vehicles complied to approved emission standard. The finding also revealed that there was a correlation between the average air pollutant concentrations with average traffic speed in each traffic zone of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR).

  14. Funding and management of roads

    Madelin, K

    Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Municipal Engineer. Vol. 133, no. 3, pp. 157-162. 1999

    The separation of the road network into national (trunk roads and most motorways) and local (the rest) was made in 1937 to provide a means of achieving a high quality national network funded directly by the Government and avoiding potential squabbles between local highway authorities - the county councils and county boroughs. National roads now form less than 5% of the road network but carry 32% of traffic and 54% of heavy goods vehicles. Local roads form over 95% of the network, carrying 68% of traffic and 46% of heavy goods vehicles. Although current government transport policy is to limit road building and restrict car use, roads are, and will remain, the backbone of the UK's modern transport system. The efficiency with which a road system operates will affect the UK's economic, social and environmental well-being. This paper considers the role of local roads and the environmental impact, but since roads form a total network it will also be necessary to consider national transport policy and the role of national roads.

  15. Post-National Environmental Policy Act monitoring of environmental impacts and mitigation commitments

    Wallace, Daniel P; Shalkowski, Joseph S

    Transportation Research Record, vol.1626, pp.31-37, Sep 1998

    Post-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) phase tracking tools have been developed and applied successfully to monitor changes in environmental impacts and mitigation commitments identified during the NEPA process as transportation projects advance and are refined through the highway final design process. The tools have been used effectively on two Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) expansion projects currently under development in the Monongahela River Valley region of southwestern Pennsylvania. The tools include a set of computerized spreadsheet/database tracking tables that identify the environmental impacts and mitigation commitments contained in the final environmental impact statement (FEIS), the memorandum of agreement for cultural resources, the FHWA record of decision, and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Land Condemnation Approval Board adjudication. As refinements were made to the project and its right-of-way requirements during final design, any associated changes to environmental impacts were recorded. The tables provided the PTC, state, and federal agencies with a means to efficiently evaluate the resulting environmental impacts for the projects and assess the applicability of the mitigation commitments as defined in the FEIS. Any refinements needed in the mitigation commitment were incorporated into the final design plans. The rationale behind the development of these tools in conjunction with their functional value to the NEPA process is presented.

  16. Environmental consequences of reducing the federal role in transportation: Legal framework

    Downing, D; Noland, R B

    Transportation Research Record , no. 1626, pp. 3-10. Sept. 1998

    The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) currently provides transportation grants to states financed by the Highway and Mass Transit Trust Funds and establishes a variety of requirements that seek to make environment a key factor in transportation planning and implementation. Devolution of the federal role would make states responsible for financing highway and transit improvements and for making related policy and program decisions. Although ISTEA is not primarily an environmental law, it contains numerous provisions that take into account the environmental implications of authorized activities. In addition, federal funding can trigger requirements for `major investment study' and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) processes that consider environmental impacts of proposed projects and allow for public comment. Devolution could affect the number of transportation projects subject to such scrunity, where federal funding is the sole element that `federalizes' a project enough to make major investment study or NEPA requirements apply. And, although many other federal and state laws provide environmental protection, they typically do not focus on achieving an environmentally friendly transportation system. The impacts that devolution could have on environmental protection are explored here. The environmental provisions currently in ISTEA are reviewed and the potential role of NEPA and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act in a devolution environment is identified. Other federal or state laws that may be available to `stand in' for environmental provisions eliminated or weakened by devolution are explored, and the potential environmental impacts of a reduced federal role in transportation oversight are discussed.

  17. Innovative approach to multiple-criteria evaluation of multimodal alternatives: Newberg-Dundee transportation improvement project case study

    Schwartz, M; Merkhofer, M; Upton, R

    Transportation Research Record , no. 1617, pp. 139-148. Sept. 1998

    Dissatisfied with the time and resources required to conduct a number of high-profile, controversial major investment studies, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) decided to use the Newberg-Dundee transportation improvement project to explore methods for streamlining the alternatives analysis process and better controlling the time frames and expenditures for these efforts. The Newberg-Dundee project concerned a highly congested segment of highway just outside the Portland metropolitan area. Over 95 percent of all trips in the corridor are made by automobile; public transportation in the area is infrequent and ineffective. Heightening the area's transit needs is a population growth rate substantially higher than the statewide average. Previous studies had not incorporated a comprehensive evaluation of modal alternatives. The Newberg-Dundee alternatives analysis was completed in 9 months on a budget significantly lower than budgets for comparable previous studies. Within ODOT, the approach may serve as a model for early integration of environmental and planning activities in alternatives analyses for project development. Explored are innovative aspects of the six-step decision process used in this major investment analysis, which led to a selection of alternatives to be forwarded for detailed evaluation in an environmental impact statement. The paper focuses on management structure, definition of multimodal alternatives, development and application of a quantitative, multiple-criteria evaluation framework, and strategy for compliance with National Environmental Policy Act requirements.

  18. Documentation of cumulative impacts in environmental impact statements

    Cooper, TA; Canter, LW

    Environmental Impact Assessment Review [Environ. Impact Assess. Rev.]. Vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 385-411. Nov 1997.

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations in the United States require federal agencies to apply an environmental impact assessment (EIA) in decision-making related to their actions. One aspect requires an examination of direct, indirect and cumulative impacts (CIs). Historically, cumulative impact assessment (CIA) has been given limited attention in EIA and resultant environmental impact statements (EISs), not because of its lack of importance, but owing to limitations in methodologies and procedures, including documentation consistency. The objectives of this study were to identify deficiencies in the documentation of CIs and CIA in EISs and to formulate appropriate recommendations (potential solutions) related to such deficiencies. The study involved the systematic review of 33 EISs (11 each from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Administration). The results indicate that improvements have been made in documentation practices since 1990; however, inconsistencies and inadequacies still exist. Therefore, the following recommendations were developed: (1) CIs should be reported in a separate part of the "Environmental Consequences" section, and they should be addressed for each pertinent environmental resource; (2) a summary of CIs should be included; (3) any CIs considered not significant should be mentioned plus the reason(s) for their non-significance; (4) spatial and temporal boundaries addressed within the CIA process should be defined for pertinent environmental resources; and (5) utilized guidelines and methodologies should be described.

  19. Optimal restrictions on vehicle use for urban sustainability for Mexico City

    Goddard, H C

    International Journal of Environment and Pollution. Vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 357-374. 1997

    This paper describes and develops the conditions that make the demand side policy of vehicle use restrictions part of a cost-effective set of environmental control policies. Mexico City's experience with vehicle use restrictions is described and its failure analyzed. It is argued that Mexico City took a step in the fight direction, but failed to make the restrictions flexible, thereby making the policy perverse. A programme of tradable vehicle use permits is presented and described that would provide the needed flexibility and promote urban sustainability.

  20. Road construction and river pollution in south-west Scotland

    McNeill, A

    Water Environ. Manage. Vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 175-182. June 1996

    During the period 1993-95, four engineering companies were involved in six separate projects entailing the construction of a motorway to replace the existing A74 Glasgow - Carlisle trunk road. The construction contracts were undertaken in a rural part of south-west Scotland. This paper describes (i) the events which led to the serious pollution of rivers, (ii) the prosecution of offenders, and (iii) measures which have been taken to ensure that future road-construction projects in Scotland do not impact upon the aquatic environment.

  21. Using travel diary data to estimate the emissions impacts of transportation strategies: the Puget Sound telecommuting demonstration project

    Henderson, D K; Koenig, B E; Mokhtarian, P L

    Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. Vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 47-57. 1996

    Telecommuting is a strategy being considered by policy makers to reduce congestion levels and improve air quality. In this research, the emissions impacts of telecommuting for the participants of the Puget Sound Telecommuting Demonstration Project (PSTD) are studied. The EMFAC7F and BURDEN7F emission models of the California Air Resource Board are used to estimate the emissions on telecommuting days and non-telecommuting days, based on travel diaries completed by program participants. This research, the first of its kind, represents the most sophisticated application of emissions models to travel diary data. Research findings support the hypothesis that the telecommuting strategy benefits both air quality and congestion.

  22. Conserving biodiversity in highway development projects

    Southerland, MT

    Environmental Professional [ENVIRON. PROF.], vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 226-242, 1995

    The incremental effects of highway development are an important cause of the loss of biodiversity. Fortunately, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides a framework for assessing the effects of highway projects, and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) can be tools for identifying biodiversity at risk and developing mitigation to conserve it. Given the nature of biodiversity, some loss is unavoidable on a local scale. It is both possible and desirable, however, to minimize this loss to the maximum extent practicable and to prevent the loss of biodiversity on the regional scale. In the case of highway development, effects on biodiversity should be considered for each phase of development (planning, design, construction, and operation) in the context of the project setting (urban, suburban, rural, and wildland). An ecosystem approach is critical to assessing biodiversity effects and should include determining the appropriate scale; establishing biodiversity goals and endpoints; gathering information; and analyzing direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts. The definition of biodiversity is necessarily broad, but the designation of appropriate biodiversity endpoints can focus assessments on the issues affecting biodiversity conservation. New measures of landscape integrity, such as the composition of constituent habitat types and the pattern and connectivity of these habitats, are useful for assessing biodiversity effects on the regional scale. Mitigation of the loss of biodiversity should extend beyond preserving key tracts of habitat to include providing adequate buffer areas and habitat corridors.

  23. Challenges and opportunities for transportation: implementation of the clean air act amendments of 1990 and the intermodal surface transportation efficiency act of 1991

    Shrouds, J M

    Transportation. Vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 193-215. 1995

    The Federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) may be the most powerful of all environmental laws affecting transportation. They are intended to significantly affect transportation decision-making, not only to achieve air quality goals but also to affect broader environmental goals related to land use, travel mode choice, and reductions in vehicle miles traveled. The CAAA require greater integration of transportation and air quality planning, and assign a greater responsibility to transportation plans and programs for reducing mobile source emissions. By expanding the requirements for determining the conformity of transportation plans, programs, and projects with State Implementation Plans for air quality, and by expanding the use of highway funding sanctions to enforce those requirements, the CAAA ensure a continuing linkage between transportation and environmental goals. While the CAAA give transportation and air quality decision-makers the mandate to better coordinate their respective planning processes, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 offers the tools to help carry out that mandate. Consequently, this paper summarizes the transportation and air quality provisions of both of these Acts and their relationships.

  24. Transportation modeling for energy and environment: U.S. experience and relevance to the developing world

    Zegras, P C; Guruswamy, D; Rojas, H M

    Transportation Research Record , no. 1487, pp. 41-48. 1995

    Recent developments in travel demand modeling and their potential for application in the developing world are examined, with a specific focus on energy, air pollution, and land use impacts. Practices in North America, where transportation and air quality modeling were pioneered, are emphasized, and potential in the developing world, where North American paradigms were often applied and where current trends suggest that future urban transport costs will be large, are explored.

  25. Rare and endangered plants and animals of Southern Appalachian wetlands

    Murdock, Nora A

    Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, vol. 77, no. 3-4, pp. 385-4805. 1994

    At least one-third of the threatened and endangered species of the United States live in wetlands. Southern Appalachian bogs and fens, in particular, support a wealth of rare and unique life forms, many of which are found in no other habitat type. In North Carolina alone, nonalluvial mountain wetlands provide habitat for nearly 90 species of plants and animals that are considered rare, threatened, or endangered by the North Carolina Plant Conservation Program, the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These species include the bog turtle, mountain sweet pitcher plant, green pitcher plant, swamp pink, bunched arrowhead, and Gray's lily, all of which are either on the federal list of endangered and threatened species or under consideration for that list. Mountain wetland habitats for these species are being destroyed and degraded at an accelerating rate for highway construction and expansion and residential and recreational development, as well as for industrial and agricultural uses.