QUESTIONS ABOUT THE STUDY
Hasn’t this process been completed before?
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed in 2004, with a preferred alternative identified for a new I-69 Ohio River Crossing just east of Henderson. With no funding source identified, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) were never issued. Information from the previous DEIS, as well as other studies completed by the states, will be is being considered by the Project Team. Logical termini of the I-69 in Kentucky and Indiana have also changed, eliminating some previously considered alternatives. Innovative financing and funding solutions that weren’t previously considered or available will be are being explored under the current studies as well.
What is NEPA?
NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, requires the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to assess environmental effects before making decisions concerning the construction of highways and other publicly-owned facilities.
The NEPA process includes:
- Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of a proposed project
- Analysis of a range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed project, based on project’s defined purpose and need
- Consideration of measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate potential impacts
- Interagency coordination and consultation
- Public involvement, including opportunities to participate and comment
- Documentation and disclosure
- A Record of Decision from FHWA, which identifies the final preferred alternative
What are the steps involved in the environmental study?
- Step 1 – COMPLETE – Determine the project’s purpose and need and identify conceptual alternatives that address those needs
- Step 2 – COMPLETE – Collect preliminary environmental and engineering data, reviewing results with the Project Team, resource agencies and the public
- Step 3 – COMPLETE – Develop a short list of potential corridors and begin detailed engineering, field investigations, agency coordination, public involvement and financial analysis
- Step 4 – IN PROGRESS – Identify a preliminary preferred alternative and present the DEIS for public review and comment
- Step 5 – Address public and agency comments on the preferred alternative, publish an FEIS and receive a ROD from FHWA
What factors will be studied?
A long list of potential impacts are being studied, some of which include impacts to property, cost, traffic, property access, low-income and minority communities, water resources, noise, air quality, wildlife and historical resources. These impacts will be weighed with project performance measures to identify a preferred alternative.
Is there a way to expedite the project?
The NEPA timeline approved by Indiana and Kentucky is aggressive, but realistic. Many comments received after publication of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement suggested changes to the preferred alternatives, requiring additional studies and analysis. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) will likely be extended beyond late 2019.
Will Kentucky and Indiana have equal influence over which alternative is selected?
This is a bi-state project, and Kentucky and Indiana will collaborate throughout the decision-making process.
What happens when the environmental process is over?
After the FHWA issues the ROD and with the help of available federal funds, Indiana and Kentucky can move forward with detailed design plans, right-of-way appraisals and land purchases, the procurement process and construction.
How is the preferred alternative selected?
It is a multi-step process that includes leadership in both states, the community, and state and federal agencies. After preliminary studies are complete for the Draft Environment Impact Statement (DEIS), the two states will consider the identified benefits, impacts, costs and community input and will propose a preferred alternative in the DEIS.
Public hearings will follow in both states and include a formal public and agency comment period. After addressing all comments, the states will confirm the preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Final approval of the preferred alternative will come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD).
When can the public review and comment on the study?
INDOT and KYTC are committed to updating the public about the study process often. Updates are shared on the project website and public open houses at key decision points and project milestones. The public is also encouraged to review project materials posted to the website and to provide comments or ask questions via email or by stopping into one of the project offices. All input received over the course of the project is being considered in the decision-making process.