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Environmental Impact Statement: Travis County, TX

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Environmental Impact Statement: Travis County, TX

Salvador Deocampo
Federal Highway Administration
October 9, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 195 (Tuesday, October 9, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61471-61472]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-24722]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Environmental Impact Statement: Travis County, TX

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

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SUMMARY: Pursuant to 40 CFR 1508.22 and 43 TAC Sec.  2.5(e)(2), the 
FHWA, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), and Central Texas 
Regional Mobility Authority (Mobility Authority) are issuing this 
notice to advise the public that an environmental impact statement 
(EIS) will be prepared for a transportation project in Travis County, 
Texas. The proposed project would improve US 290 from State Loop 1 (SL1 
[Mopac]) to Ranch-to-Market Road (RM) 1826, in Travis County, Texas, a 
distance of approximately 3.6 miles. The EIS will also include 
improvements to SH 71 from Silvermine Drive to US 290 in Travis County, 
a distance of approximately 1.2 miles.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Salvador Deocampo, District 
Engineer, District A, Federal Highway Administration, Texas Division, 
300 East 8th Street, Room 826, Austin, Texas, 78701. Phone: 512-536-
5950.

DATES: Public Scoping meetings will be held in fall 2012 and winter 
2013 to receive oral and written comments on environmental concerns 
that should be addressed in the EIS. The public scoping meetings will 
be held at dates, times and locations to be published in general 
circulation newspapers in the project area. Comments concerning the 
scope of the analysis should be received in writing within 30 days 
following the date of the last scoping meeting to receive full 
consideration in the development of alternatives.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The FHWA in cooperation with TxDOT and the 
Mobility Authority will prepare an EIS for the proposed improvement of 
US 290 from State Loop 1 (SL1 [Mopac]) to Ranch-to-Market Road (RM) 
1826, in Travis County, Texas, a distance of approximately 3.6 miles. 
The EIS will also include improvements to SH 71 from Silvermine Drive 
to US 290 in Travis County, a distance of approximately 1.2 miles. 
Proposed improvements were originally considered in a Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) covering improvements to SH 71/US 
290 from RM 1826 to Farm-to-Market (FM) 973. A Record of Decision (ROD) 
was issued by FHWA on August 22, 1988. The mid-section of the original 
project limits, between Joe Tanner Lane and Riverside Drive, has been 
constructed. Since the issuance of the ROD, changes in adjacent land 
use, State and Federal listing of the Barton Springs salamander as 
endangered, changes in funding mechanisms, and public input have 
resulted in changes in the proposed design concept. A new EIS will be 
completed to evaluate potential impacts from the proposed improvements. 
The proposed project limits of the US 290 EIS would extend beyond the 
limits of the original FEIS to allow for a logical terminus and 
transition back to existing US 290 at Circle Drive and along SH 71 at 
Silvermine Drive.
    The project is listed in the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning 
Organization (CAMPO) 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, as amended, as 
a six-lane tolled freeway from Circle Drive to Joe Tanner Lane and as 
tolled connector bridges from SH 71 to US 290 W. The proposed action is 
also included in the CAMPO's fiscal year 2011-2014 Transportation 
Improvement Program (TIP) as an added capacity, tolled facility and 
tolled connector bridges from SH 71. The need for the proposed project 
stems from corridor congestion causing unreliable traffic operations 
within the US 290/SH 71 corridor. TxDOT and the Mobility Authority have 
identified the following issues that the project would address: safety 
concerns along the corridor, roadway congestion which has been caused 
by steady population growth in the Austin metropolitan area, system 
mobility and connectivity, time delay and level of service (LOS; 
currently at LOS F--unacceptable congestion) within the corridor, and 
reliable routes for transit and emergency vehicles within the corridor.
    In order to address the identified needs and objectives, the 
purpose of the proposed project is to improve mobility and operational 
efficiency, facilitate long-term congestion management in the corridor 
by accommodating the movement of people and goods for multiple modes of 
travel, and improve safety and emergency response within the corridor. 
A reasonable number of alignment alternatives will be identified and 
evaluated in the EIS, as well as the No-build Alternative, based on 
input from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private 
organizations and concerned citizens. Alternative designs and funding 
alternatives will include tolling options or new managed lanes. In 
addition, environmental stewardship and sustainability strategies will 
be developed to address those problems which are not transportation 
related and may include improved service quality and quality of access 
to goods and services, safety, improved air quality, noise reduction, 
improved water quality, protection of habitat and open space, historic 
preservation, reduced carbon emissions, increased social equity, 
economic development, and a satisfying quality of life, plus local 
goals consistent with the overall project purpose and need.
    Impacts caused by the construction and operation of the proposed 
improvements would vary depending on the selection of a build 
alternative. The EIS will evaluate potential impacts from construction 
and operation of the proposed roadway including, but not limited to, 
the following: impacts to residences and businesses, including 
potential relocation; impacts to parkland; transportation impacts 
(construction detours, construction traffic, and mobility improvement); 
air and noise impacts from construction equipment and operation of the 
roadway; social and economic impacts, including impacts to minority and 
low-income residences; impacts to historic cultural resources; 
endangered and threatened species and impacts to

[[Page 61472]]

waters of the U.S. including wetlands from right-of-way encroachment; 
and potential indirect and cumulative impacts.
    Public involvement is a critical component of the project 
development process and will occur throughout the planning and study 
phases. Opportunities for public involvement would exist during the 
scoping process, public meetings and a public hearing. A Public and 
Agency Coordination Plan will be provided in accordance with 23 U.S. 
Code Section 139 (23 U.S.C. 139), to facilitate and document the lead 
agencies, structure interaction with the public and other agencies, and 
to inform the public and other agencies of how the coordination will be 
accomplished. The Public and Agency Coordination Plan will promote 
early and continuous involvement from stakeholders, agencies, and the 
public as well as describe the proposed project, the roles of the 
agencies and the public, the project purpose and need, schedule, level 
of detail for alternatives analysis, and the proposed process for 
coordination and communication.
    Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting comments will 
be sent to the appropriate Federal, State, and local agencies, and 
private organizations and citizens who have previously expressed or are 
known to have interest in this proposal. To ensure that the full range 
of issues related to this proposed action are addressed and all 
significant issues are identified, comments and suggestions are invited 
from all interested parties. Comments or questions concerning this 
proposed action and the EIS should be directed to FHWA at the address 
above.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway, Planning, and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.)

    Issued on: October 1, 2012.
Salvador Deocampo,
District Engineer.
[FR Doc. 2012-24722 Filed 10-5-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

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