Basalt Creek Parkway Extension
The Open House Summary from the Oct. 23, 2019 Open House has additional comments and responses.
Question: What is the project’s National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) classification?
Response: The three levels of environmental review for FHWA are categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, and environmental impact statement. The initial recommendation for this project is a “categorical exclusion.” More information can be found on the Federal Highway Administration website and in Oregon Department of Transportation NEPA Manual.
Question: How did the project get a categorical exclusion classification?
Response: The classification was recommended by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and tentatively confirmed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). ODOT environmental resource specialists reviewed the environmental scope of the project and conducted a site visit with the County. During the site visit, the ODOT environmental resource specialists met with several property owners along the canyon and were able to access the canyon. FHWA requested a preliminary historic analysis and noise report, which were conducted and submitted. The intial recommendation was a categorical exclusion.
Question: Does categorical exclusion mean the project may avoid environmental review and permitting?
Response: No. The project is conducting the necessary environmental studies in accordance with local, state and federal requirements.
Question: Could the NEPA classification of the project change?
Response: Yes. All environmental reports will be submitted to FHWA, who will review the project and its impacts. FHWA may conclude additional analysis is needed and upgrade the classification to an Environmental Assessment (EA).
Question: What reports does NEPA require to be submitted?
Response: Reports to be submitted include:
- Noise analysis
- Biological resource report
- Threatened and endangered species study
- Wetland delineation report
- Wetland functional assessment report
- Archaeological and historic resources reports
- Hazardous Materials Corridor Assessment
- Stormwater report, and
- Joint permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Oregon Department of State Lands.
Please note, the project is also producing technical reports such as a hydraulics report and a geotechnical report.
Question: Are the reports available to the public?
Response: Final reports will be uploaded to the project website in accordance with ORS 135.230 to 135.290.
Question: Are there challenges with the road grade?
Response: No. The project will have a grade of 4%, which is less that the County’s 10% maximum and less than ODOT’s 6% maximum.
Question: Will noise be mitigated?
Response: The noise analysis assessed noise impacts during the peak commute hours. Using ODOT noise abatement criteria which is based on FHWA criteria, building sound walls along the road would have a limited benefit are not cost-effective, therefore are not recommended.
Question: How will the wildlife in the canyon be impacted?
Response: Temporary impacts to the canyon are expected during bridge construction. Impacted areas will be rehabilitated.
The work site will be left in a secure manner daily to ensure safety of people and animals. It is important to note, the wildlife in the canyon are species familiar with the built environment of humans and tend to avoid areas when people or machinery are present.
The preferred bridge type will minimize long-term impacts with its long spans. After construction, wildlife will be free to roam the canyon in a manner very similar to today.
Question: Is there a plan to address the water runoff from the road?
Response: Yes. The project will adhere to the applicable stormwater codes. The stormwater will be treated and detained in accordance with federal, state and local requirements prior to discharging into the environment.