The Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Assertion (DEIS) for the continued Chesapeake Bay Crossing Research is now accessible for evaluation and remark at baycrossingstudy.com by way of Monday, Might 10, 2021. Initially scheduled for December, launch of the DEIS was delayed as a result of considerations with rising state COVID-19 charges and related restrictions. In following public well being steering and to make sure ample alternative for the general public to remark, MDTA and its federal companions on the FHWA up to date the roll-out schedule.
The aim of the examine is to contemplate two-mile-wide corridors to supply extra capability and entry throughout the Chesapeake Bay to enhance mobility, journey reliability and security on the present William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge, whereas contemplating monetary viability and environmental duty.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the Federal Freeway Administration (FHWA) are holding public hearings to supply the general public extra alternatives to evaluation and touch upon the DEIS, which has been ready pursuant to the federally mandated Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act (NEPA).
The general public hearings can be comprised of two parts – a Public Listening to Digital Info Room (VIR) and Stay Testimony Periods. The VIR is on the market on baycrossingstudy.com as of February 23, 2021. Within the VIR, attendees can evaluation info on the Tier 1 DEIS, register to provide public testimony and discover ways to submit written feedback. Name-in and in-person testimony classes can be held in April.
“We’re desirous to obtain suggestions from residents, communities, officers, key stakeholders, and members of the general public on the DEIS,” mentioned Maryland Division of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary and MDTA Chairman Greg Slater. “We’re working exhausting to make this course of secure by following the steering of public well being officers, whereas making certain each voice is heard.”
The discharge of the DEIS is one step within the Bay Crossing Tier 1 Research. Extra steps embrace figuring out a Chosen Hall Various and publishing a mixed Closing Environmental Impact Assertion/Report of Resolution doc in collaboration with FHWA which is predicted to be full in winter 2021/2022. After the Tier 1 NEPA Research is accomplished and may funding turn out to be accessible, a possible Tier 2 examine, to establish alignments throughout the Chosen Hall Various recognized in the course of the Tier 1 examine, may very well be initiated.
The DEIS evaluated 4 retained options, together with the No-Construct Various and three Hall Options Retained for Evaluation (CARA) that had been introduced to the general public in fall 2019:
Hall 6 follows MD 177 and ties in with MD 100 on the Western Shore. The hall ties into US 301 on the Jap Shore with out following the present street community.Hall 7 follows the present street community alongside US 50/301 from west of the Severn River on the Western Shore to the US 50/301 cut up on the Jap Shore. The present Bay Bridge is on this hall.Hall eight follows MD 214 and MD 424 to tie into US 50 on the Western Shore. It ties into US 50 on the Jap Shore with out following the present street community.
Pursuant to the federal course of, the MDTA has recognized Hall 7 because the MDTA-Really useful Most well-liked Hall Various (MDTA-RPCA) within the DEIS.
“Of the no-build various and the three hall options retained within the federal environmental course of for additional examine, the examine’s site visitors fashions point out that constructing a 3rd crossing throughout the identical hall as the present Bay Bridge – Hall 7 – would have essentially the most constructive influence on decreasing site visitors on the Bay Bridge,” mentioned MDTA Government Director Jim Ports.
Since fall 2019, an in depth evaluation was carried out on the No-Construct Various and the three CARA and is documented within the DEIS. Hall 7 has been recognized because the MDTA-RPCA primarily based on evaluation of a variety of engineering and environmental components and enter by way of public feedback and coordination with state and federal businesses.
The MDTA is accepting feedback on the Bay Crossing Research Tier 1 DEIS for the general public file by way of Might 10, 2021. The DEIS is on the market within the Digital Info Room at baycrossingstudy.com. In case you are unable to view the DEIS on the web site, please name 1-877-249-8370.
The general public is inspired to testify at one of many testimony classes. In case you want to present testimony, please go to baycrossingstudy.com to register. In case you can’t entry the mission web site, name 1-877-249-8370 to register. The testimony classes are supposed for reside testimony solely and won’t embrace displays nor responses to questions. The dates and occasions are:
Wednesday, April 14, 20211 to three p.m. and 6 to eight p.m.Name-in classesThursday, April 15, 20211 to three p.m. and 6 to eight p.m.Name-in classes Wednesday, April 21, 2021Double Tree Resort210 Vacation Courtroom Annapolis, MD 21401Thursday, April 22, 2021Kent Island American Legion Corridor800 Romancoke Highway Stevensville, MD 21666
All feedback acquired, whether or not on the listening to by way of oral testimony or by way of different strategies – reminiscent of by way of the mission web site, e-mail at email@example.com, and mail at Bay Crossing Research, 2310 Broening Freeway, Baltimore MD 21224 – can be given equal consideration.
The MDTA and the FHWA are following a tiered NEPA course of that enables the businesses to finish an preliminary evaluation of potential environmental impacts. Funded by toll dollars, the Bay Crossing Research additionally evaluates modal and operational options together with ferry service, bus speedy transit, rail transit, and transportation techniques administration/journey demand administration.
Planning for a brand new bay crossing remains to be in its early phases. The Tier 1 examine contains identification of a variety of Hall Options in addition to a Chosen Hall Various within the Tier 1 Closing Environmental Impact Assertion/Report of Resolution (FEIS/ROD). A Tier 2 examine would establish particular alignment options throughout the two-mile-wide Chosen Hall Various recognized throughout Tier 1. Completion of the Tier 1 examine doesn’t presume the initiation of a Tier 2 NEPA examine, since no funding has been recognized past the present Bay Crossing Research.
A Tier 2 NEPA Research might take three to 5 years to: 1) establish and consider a no-build various and varied crossing alignments throughout the two-mile-wide Tier 1 Chosen Hall Various; 2) consider how buses, ferries, transportation system administration and demand administration may very well be used together with these crossing alignments; three) evaluation potential environmental impacts; four) decide mission supply strategies, reminiscent of design-bid-build or design-build, to prepare and finance design, development, operations, and upkeep; and 5) develop a monetary plan that might result in FHWA in the end approving one alignment with a Tier 2 ROD.
The method would wish a Tier 2 ROD earlier than continuing to last design, right-of-way acquisition and development if a construct alignment various is chosen.
Bay Crossing Research