NEPA Process (This site last updated October 5, 2010)
The revised Notice of Intent (issued in the Federal Register on October 8, 2008) identified the Delaware Department of Transportation's (DelDOT) intention to evaluate the US 113 project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and provide the results of that evaluation in four separate environmental documents for the following geographical areas:
- Milford Area- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- Ellendale Area- Environmental Assessment (EA)
- Georgetown Area- Environmental Assessment (EA)
- Millsboro-South Area- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
DelDOT and the Federal Highway Administration met with representatives of the various resource and regulatory agencies to begin consideration of the effects of the project on the natural and built environment. Three of those agencies requested to be cooperating agencies: the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Consideration of the effects on the environment has been accomplished according to the guidelines issued by the Council on Environmental Quality and according to the Mid-Atlantic Transportation and Environmental Streamlining (MATE) Process. MATE is a cooperative, coordinated process that brought all of the resource and regulatory agencies together concurrently, ensuring comprehensive consideration of all resources.
Step 1 - Purpose and Need
Prepared by DelDOT and FHWA, the cooperating agencies concurred with the purpose and need for the project in July and August, 2005.
Step 2 - Environmental Inventory and Range of Alternatives
The Environmental Inventory was completed in January 2004. The initial range of alternatives was developed between September 2004 and April 2005 and included the Far West and Western Bypasses as well as On-alignment Alternatives. The On-alignment Interchange Options were developed in conjunction with the Ellendale Working Group in their February and April, 2005 meetings.
Step 3 - Preliminary Effects and Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study
Potential environmental impacts were updated, agency meetings were held and a Public Workshop was held on May 17, 2005, including the Project Team's recommendations on which alternatives should be retained for detailed evaluation. Based on input from the workshop, continued efforts by the Project Team and the federal and state resource agencies in revising the alignments,and consideration of engineering details to better serve the Purpose and Need and avoid and minimize direct impacts to natural and socioeconomic resources, the On-alignment Alternative, Options 1 and 2, the Far West Alternative and the Close-in Western Bypass Alternative were retained for detailed evaluation. The resource agencies concurred with the Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study.
Step 4 - Detailed Evaluation of the Retained Alternatives
Between May, 2005 and January, 2006, a detailed evaluation of the Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study was conducted. Meetings were held with the Ellendale Working Group and the resource agencies to review this information and to identify a recommended preferred alternative. A Public Workshop was held on January 23, 2006 to present the On-alignment Alternative as the recommended preferred alternative in the Ellendale Area and receive comments.
Step 5 - Publication of the Draft Environmental Document
The draft NEPA document, an Environmental Assessment (EA), was published on May 25, 2010. The EA details all of the known environmental resources that may be affected by the retained alternatives as well as preliminary efforts to avoid, minimize or mitigate those impacts. The document includes a Recommended Preferred Alternative, the On-alignment Alternative.
Step 6 - Finding of No Significant Impact
Following the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Assessment, DelDOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, reviewed the comments received, addressed those comments and finalized the Environmental Assessment. The FHWA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on September 28, 2010 which concludes the environmental process for the Ellendale area.