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Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) Status

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently submitted the final cultural resource studies to the Arizona and Nevada State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) for their concurrence. These studies include a continuing consultation process with Native American Tribes to mitigate adverse impacts on properties of traditional cultural significance. These studies also include an establishment of a Design Advisory Panel to provide input regarding desired aesthetic treatments for the project.

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.

Preferred Alternative

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:

  1. Comments received from the public, and other local, state and federal agencies
  2. Consideration of environmental impacts
  3. 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

Last Update: 09.26.2001 04:26 PM