Final Environmental Impact Statement is Released
After three years of preliminary project development, environmental studies,
and cooperation and input from the public, the Project Management Team
(PMT) has completed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for
the Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Notice of Availability in the Federal Register
is scheduled for January 19, 2001. The 30-day notification period for
the FEIS begins on January 19, 2001 and ends on February 20, 2001.
The release of this FEIS is one of the final steps in recommending a
project alternative to resolve the traffic congestion, reduce accidents,
and increase protection of the dam and waters of the Colorado River. Preparation
of an environmental document is required by Federal law under the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is required for most federally funded
projects to take into account project impacts on environmental factors
such as wildlife, historic properties, noise, public safety, water quality,
air quality, and traffic circulation. This document analyzes the final
three project build alternatives and a no build alternative. Based on
this analysis and direct public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact
Statement (DEIS), the FEIS identifies the preferred alternative and describes
mitigation measures to protect the environment.
Following the 30-day notification period for the FEIS, the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) will prepare and sign a Record of Decision (ROD)
for the project. The ROD will document the alternative selection decision
(one of the three build alternatives or the no build alternative) and
mitigation measures. If a build alternative is selected, the project will
then proceed into design and construction.
Where to review the FEIS
The complete document and the technical appendices are available for
your review at the following locations:
- Boulder City Public Library, Boulder City, NV
- Bullhead City Public Library, Bullhead City, AZ
- Clark County Public Library, Las Vegas, NV
- Green Valley Public Library, Henderson, NV
- Henderson Public Library, Henderson, NV
- Kingman Public Library, Kingman, AZ
- Laughlin Library, Laughlin, NV
For web surfers, a complete version of the document and its appendices
are available on-line through our project website at www.hooverdambypass.net
Federal, state and local agencies, private organizations and members of
the public who provided substantive comments on the draft EIS will also
receive a copy of the FEIS.
Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative has been identified as the preferred
alternative of the Hoover Dam Bypass. This alternative includes construction
of approximately 3.3 miles of new highway and a new 1,900-foot-long bridge
over the Colorado River.
Starting from the Nevada side, the project leaves existing U.S. 93 near
the Hacienda Casino andfollows a route just south of the existing road.
It then crosses over U.S. 93 near the Bureau of Reclamation warehouse
and back over existing U.S. 93 about 0.5 miles east of the warehouse to
set up for a straight crossing of the Colorado River. The new roadway
then crosses the river about 1,500 feet downstream of Hoover Dam and transverses
the base of the northern slope of Sugarloaf Mountain. It then crosses
a large wash and ties into existing U.S. 93 approximately 1.1 miles southeast
of the dam. The adjacent map provides specific details of the preferred
advances have been made in the efforts to acquire the necessary funds
for the Hoover Dam Bypass Project. Arizona and Nevada have each doubled
their monetary commitment and have agreed to respectively contribute $20
million to the proposed project. Federal funds allotted under the Transportation
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) provide $41 million for the Hoover
Dam Bypass Project under the "High Priority Projects Program."
In addition, the proposed project has received $33 million in Department
of Transportation and Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) funding and
$4 million in National Corridor Planning and development (NCPD) Program
Arizona and Nevada will annually seek additional Federal funding. Based
on the above, $118 million of the estimated $198 million necessary to
complete the project has been acquired.
How The Alternatives Rated
Each of the alternatives were evaluated against specific screening criteria
to measure benefits and potential impacts and aid in the decision making
process. The screening criteria were developed by the PMT based on the
requirements of the NEPA process, engineering and operational factors,
and direct input from the public and government agencies. In comparison
to the other alternatives studied, Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative rated
the highest overall. Following is a summary of the seven screening criteria
used in the evaluation:
Criterion 1 How well does the alternative
meet the purpose and need of the project, considering engineering and
operational standards, safety, traffic/freight capacity, and cost?
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative rated highest in this category due
to its long, straight approaches to the bridge. This maximizes the sight
distance for drivers and minimizes the possibility of an accident at the
Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative bridge. In addition, the Sugarloaf Mountain
Alternative is the least complex to design and construct.
Criterion 2 How does the alternative impact
Section 4(f) land (public parks, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, and
historic sites)? Impacts should be avoided or minimized pursuant to Section
4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966.
There is no feasible or prudent way to completely avoid Section 4(f)
land due to the extent of such land surrounding the Hoover Dam. Based
on strong public concern regarding hazardous material spill potential
from the Promontory Point Alternative, resource and regulatory agency
support due to least impact to wildlife and water quality, visual considerations,
the use of existing disturbed areas, and proposed mitigation measures,
the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative has been determined to be the least-harm
Criterion 3 How significant are the impacts
to federally and/or state-listed threatened or endangered vegetation and
wildlife species and sensitive habitats?
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative rated highest for this criterion
because it is generally located along existing road corridors or through
other previously disturbed areas. In addition, the Sugarloaf Mountain
Alternative has no impact to the peregrine falcon breeding habitat and
the least impact to habitat for desert bighorn sheep lambing and the desert
Criterion 4 How significant are the impacts
to cultural resources, including Hoover Dam National Historic Landmark
(NHL) and archeological (prehistoric and historic) resources?
All three of the build alternatives adversely affect historic properties,
ranging from 6 to 10 historic and cultural features impacted depending
on the alternative. Only the No Build Alternative can be considered as
meeting this criterion. However, the No Build Alternative does not meet
the purpose and need of the project. Extensive consultation with the Advisory
Council on Historic Preservation, the State Historic Preservation Officers,
Native American Tribes, Land Managing Agencies, and the National Landmark
Coordinator have resulted in identification of acceptable mitigation measures
for the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative.
Criterion 5 How significant are the impacts
to aesthetic resources (including visual, noise, dust, and odors)?
From the perspective of visual impacts on the Hoover Dam National Historic
Landmark, the Gold Strike Canyon Alternative rated best under this criterion
because it is not visible from Hoover Dam. The Gold Strike Canyon Alternative
also enhances the visitors' experience at Hoover Dam by moving the
through-traffic out of sight and farther away than the other two alternatives.
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative was rated second over the Promontory
Point Alternative because it does not alter the "first impression"
historic views of Hoover Dam as visitors approach the Landmark from either
the Arizona or Nevada side.
Criterion 6 How significant are the impacts
on recreation resources and to tourists?
With no impact to the Gold Strike Canyon Hot Springs hiking trail or
to the planned bicycle path along the historic railroad grade north of
the Reclamation warehouse area, the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative is
the preferred alternative under this criterion.
Criterion 7 Degree of public and agency
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative was favored by a three to one margin
by the approximately 160 individuals and public agencies who commented
on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Almost all of the
resource and regulatory agencies supported the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative
because of its minimal impact to wildlife, wildlife habitat, water quality,
and waters of the United States.
The overriding concern regarding the Promontory Point Alternative was
the potential of an accident on the bridge contaminating the stored water
in Lake Mead and the impact to "first impression" historic views
of Hoover Dam. Feedback regarding the Gold Strike Canyon Alternative indicated
concern over extensive intrusion into a previously undisturbed landscape.
Therefore, the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative is the preferred alternative
under this criterion.
The graphic below shows the alternative that rated best for each criterion.
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative performed the best overall using the
screening criteria established by the PMT and your input. Numerous project
features have been included in the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative to mitigate
potential impacts and environmental concerns. The inclusion of wildlife
crossings and fencing to prevent wildlife from crossing the new highway
were instrumental in lessening the potential impacts. Treatment plans
for mitigating cultural and historic impacts have been developed. Monitoring
plans have been developed for sensitive species. When all elements are
considered collectively, the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative is the least
harm alternative and addresses the project goals of traffic relief and
For More Information
Call our project voice-mail at 702/369-6904 extension 234. Or contact
D. Roller (HFL-16)
555 Zang Street,
Lakewood, CO 80228.