The FEIS is scheduled to be released in December 2000. Once the
notification period for the FEIS is complete, a Record of Decision
will be issued. The Record of Decision will officially announce
FHWA's course of action and final design work.
This monumental project is sure to attract attention from around
the nation. FHWA is pleased to move one step closer to providing
a safer, less congested passage at one of the worst traffic bottlenecks
in the Intermountain West.
The FHWA announced that they identified the Sugarloaf Mountain
Alternative as the preferred alternative in December of 1998. The
decision to reccommend the Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative was based
on three key factors:
- Comments received from the public, and other local, state and
- Consideration of environmental impacts
- The project's purpose and need
The Sugarloaf Mountain Alternative won the majority of support
at all levels, has the least amount of environmental impact of the
three "build" alternatives studied, and successfully meets the main
objectives of the project.
The estimated cost to design and construct this 1,900 foot-long
bridge and 3.5 miles of roadway is $198 million. The facility will
consist of a 4-lane highway and bridge, designed with 60 miles per
hour. The proposed bridge crossing is approximately 1,500 feet downstream(south)
of Hoover Dam.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
In September, 1998, the DEIS was distributed and made available
for public review. Following earlier project scoping and open house
information meetings, the DEIS provided a new opportunity for the
public to review and provide comments. The 45-day comment period
ended in November , 1998. Responses to the public comments will
be incorporated into the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
Formal consultation with the Fish & Wildlife Service, Corps of Engineers,
Environmental Protection Agency, and the State Historic Preservation
Officers may result in additional mitigation measures. Additional
comments and mitigation measures will be addressed in the FEIS,
scheduled to be completed by December 2000.
FHWA studied four alternatives (including the "no-build" alternative)
to determine the best crossing of the river from an engineering
standpoint, while creating the least amount of impact to the surrounding
environment. FHWA completed the Draft EIS in September 1998, with
the cooperation of the Nevada Department of Transportation, the
Arizona Department of Transportation, the U.S. National Park Service,
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the
U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Public
hearings were held in Kingman, Boulder City, and Las Vegas in October
1998. Through an open forum, FHWA solicited comments from experts
in the field of transportation, environmental groups, regulatory
agencies, and members of surrounding communities. Prior to completing
the Final EIS, FHWA will coordinate with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and the State Historic Preservation Offices in Nevada and
Arizona to prepare mitigation plans for any adverse impacts to wildlife
and cultural resources, including the Hoover Dam Historic Landmark.
Additional coordination with Native American Indian Tribes will
also be done. FHWA is committed to developing and implementing appropriate
mitigation measures to minimize the impacts of the project.
Environmental Review Process
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), our country's basic
charter for protection of the environment, provides a framework for
federal agencies to build projects like the Hoover Dam Bypass, while
taking into account environmental factors. Examples of environmental
factors include wildlife, noise, public safety, public service, air
quality, and traffic circulation. The EIS for the Hoover Dam Bypass
Project will follow the NEPA framework. Listed below are the steps
for this environmental process:
- Prepare Notice of Intent (NOI) - The lead agency must
publish this document to provide a description of the proposed
action and the name of a contact person. The NOI to resume the
environmental studies begun by the Bureau of Reclamation was filed
for publication in the Federal Register on September 25, 1997.
- Conduct Scoping Process - Invite agencies and the public
to help identify the scope of the project, significant issues,
and environmental documents to be prepared. Evaluate Effects -
Evaluate social, economic, and environmental effects of proposed
alternatives. Prepare DEIS - This draft must consider comments
on the scope of the project and discuss all major points of view
on environmental impacts of the alternatives.
- Public/Agency Review and Comment - Copies of the DEIS
are made available to the public and all agencies involved. A
public hearing will be conducted to present the DEIS. The period
for this review is 45 days.
- Prepare the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)
- Once all comments on the draft are received and reviewed, the
final document must contain responses to all comments received
and must discuss any opposing views on issues raised.
- Prepare Record of Decision (ROD) - Following preparation
of the FEIS, a ROD must be prepared explaining why the lead agency
has decided to take a particular course of action