Over the last several months, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the U.S. 30 Project Study Team have beenworking diligently in an effort to complete the U.S. 30 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Phase I Study. As discussed in our last newsletter, a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) is required as an additional step in the EIS process due to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Floodplain Insurance Study of Whiteside County.
The results of this FEMA study included revisions to the mapping of the 100-year floodplains within the U.S. 30 project study area . The most considerable change within the study area was the expansion of the French Creek floodplain, which is located outside of the eastern city limits of Morrison. Consequently, an increase in floodplain impacts became evident within the limits of Build Alternatives 4 (northern) and 5 (southern). It was determined that both of these Build Alternatives would require realignment in order to avoid the expanded French Creek floodplain and that a reevaluation of environmental impacts associated with the U.S. 30 project would be necessary.
When major environmental impacts are discovered and significant changes are made to a proposed build alternative, an in-depth assessment of other potential impacts must be considered and documented. Over the past 18 months, the SDEIS has been revised to reflect the required modifications consisting of reviewing and updating the environmental impacts and finalizing the design changes. Additionally as a result of the alignment changes, data from the resource agencies had to be reassessed. Some of the information used to update the SDEIS includes:
….. Farmland Assessments Impact Report
….. Traffic Noise Analysis Report to address the new traffic noise impacts
….. Air Quality information to meet current traffic conditions and regulations
….. Whiteside County Tax Assessors Office data
….. Illinois State Geological Survey to identify special waste impacts and sites
….. Endangered Species Act List of Federally Listed Species from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service
….. Biological Commitments
Other information, such as the 2010 Census Bureau Report, municipal community plans, city annual financial reports, and public involvement documents were updated in the SDEIS to reflect current available data.
Following the completion of these updates, lOOT and the Federal Highway Administration will review and approve the SDEIS. A public hearing will then be scheduled to obtain feedback from the community on the realigned build alternatives.
After documentation of this public input is completed, the Project Study Team will meet with members of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) to review and discuss the public comments and provide input on the preferred alternative. The CAG’s input and the public hearing documentation will aid the Project Study Group in selecting the preferred alternative. The final milestones for the U.S. 30 Phase I Study will be to submit a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) document and to establish a Record of Decision (ROD), which will mark the completion of the Phase I process. The completion date for this process is anticipated to occur in 2015.
Your input is essential to this project’s success’ If you have any questions or comments about the study, you may contact us through the project hotline at 1-866-ROUTE30 (1-866-768-8330). We also encourage you to visit the project website, www.dot.il.gov/us30Iindex1.html to learn more about the study as the project moves forward.