The corridor study followed federal and state transportation planning and environmental rules and procedures. Following these procedures will allow federal and state funds to be used for any new roadway facilities or other transportation system improvements that are recommended by the study. The procedures typically include three major phases:
- Phase A includes an analysis of existing and future (projected) problems and other factors that affect transportation system congestion, mobility, safety, and accessibility. These problems and factors establish the purpose and need for any projects that may result from the study. This phase also provides an inventory of local issues and conditions that must be considered by the study, e.g., neighborhoods, environmental conditions, historic properties, air quality, etc. Finally, potential solutions (i.e., "alternatives") to achieve the project objective are identified and screened. This initial screening process eliminates alternatives that are unlikely to achieve the project need and advances those that hold promise. We are currently in the final stages of Phase A.
- Phase B includes a detailed analysis of the alternatives retained for further consideration. During this phase, each alternative is developed in greater detail to define the alignment, right-of-way needs, and cost. Alternatives are also evaluated for their effect on traffic performance, safety, mobility, neighborhoods, businesses, growth and development, and the environment. Poor performing alternatives may be eliminated from further consideration.
- Phase C includes the preparation of an environmental document, typically either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS). The preparation of an EA or EIS is required for projects which use federal funds and/or that require other federal approvals or permits. The EA/EIS results in a final decision to either implement the proposed project or to select the "No-Action Alternative," i.e., do nothing to correct the identified problems. If the EA/EIS results in the selection of a proposed project, the project is advanced into design and, when funding is obtained, right-of-way acquisition (PDF) and construction.
Public involvement was a fundamental and essential part of the study process. Input from the public was used to help identify the alternatives to consider and to evaluate alternatives. For this Corridor Study, the public involvement plan included the use of a citizen advisory committee (CAC) and community meetings at each key milestone of the study. In addition, the Project Team met regularly with local councils and commissions, neighborhood groups, and other groups interested in the study.