Feds seek Route 460 input
Published 10:18 pm Monday, December 16, 2013
The Federal Highway Administration is calling on interested parties to have their say regarding plans for a supplemental environmental impact statement on a proposed 55-mile toll road between Suffolk and Petersburg.
The administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will prepare the supplement in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Transportation, according to a notice in the Federal Register.
Since the final environmental impact statement was published in June 2008 and approved in a September 2008 record of decision, new information has surfaced regarding the VDOT project’s impacts on wetlands, requiring a supplement to be prepared and opened for public review.
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As well as the environmental impact of VDOT’s preferred alternative — a new four-lane, divided highway alongside the existing 460, instead of widening and tolling the existing road — the administration says it will also look at proposed changes to its start and end points and the Route 620 interchange.
It will also examine potential changes to the plan that would reduce wetlands impacts, while also updating other alternatives, including not building a tollroad, and those previously ruled out by the administration.
The supplement may also look at “any other options along the existing alignment that may reduce the needed footprint and are found to be feasible and address the purpose and need of the project.”
The supplement will inform the Corps of Engineers’ assessment of the environmental impacts of the project, which requires a permit from the federal authority for the destruction of wetlands.
Comments and suggestions on the scope of the supplement can be submitted through Jan. 15 at www.federalregister.gov/a/2013-29836 — click on “Submit a Formal Comment” on the right. Otherwise, write or phone Ed Sundra, Federal Highway Administration, 400 North 8th Street, Suite 750, Richmond, VA 23219; email: Ed.Sundra@dot.gov; 804-775-3357; or Alice Allen-Grimes, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Branch, 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA 23510; email: Alice.W.Allen-Grimes@usace.army.mil; 201-7219.
The administration says no formal scoping meetings will be held, but public meetings will take place after the expected publication of the draft SEIS this spring.
The corps will also open a 30-day public comment period after it receives a complete application, the notice says.