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Notice To Rescind a Notice of Intent for an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Highway and Light Rail Improvements in the Sr 32 Corridor Between Us 50 and Ir 275 in Hamilton and Clermont Counties, Ohio

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  United States Numbered Highways, Interstate Highway System

Notice To Rescind a Notice of Intent for an Environmental Impact Statement for Proposed Highway and Light Rail Improvements in the Sr 32 Corridor Between Us 50 and Ir 275 in Hamilton and Clermont Counties, Ohio

Robert L. Griffith
Federal Highway Administration
23 September 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 185 (Friday, September 23, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65694-65695]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-22910]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Notice To Rescind a Notice of Intent for an Environmental Impact 
Statement for Proposed Highway and Light Rail Improvements in the Sr 32 
Corridor Between Us 50 and Ir 275 in Hamilton and Clermont Counties, 
Ohio

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. DOT.

ACTION: Notice to rescind a Notice of Intent (NOI) for an Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS).

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SUMMARY: A Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement was published in the Federal Register on May 9, 2012. The 
Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is issuing this notice to 
advise the public that ODOT will no longer prepare a Tier 2 EIS for 
proposed improvements to SR 32 from US 50 in Hamilton County east to IR 
275 in Clermont County, because of potential significant environmental 
impacts and public controversy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Timothy M. Hill, Administrator, ODOT 
Office of Environmental Services, 1980 West Broad Street, Columbus, 
Ohio 43223 Mail Stop #4170, Telephone: (614) 644-0377, Email: 
Tim.Hill@dot.ohio.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On September 30, 2005, a Tier 1 EIS was 
published in the Federal Register (77 FR 27272). This document 
evaluated transportation needs and focused on broad issues such as mode 
choice, general location, preliminary costs, benefits, and impacts 
within a study area known as the Eastern Corridor, extending from 
downtown Cincinnati to western Clermont County. A Tier 1 Record of 
Decision issued on June 2, 2006 identified feasible multi-modal 
components to be advanced by mode and segment into Tier 2 NEPA 
analyses, including a new rail transit corridor composed of four 
implementation segments, improved bus transit, various local network 
improvements, and a new highway capacity corridor composed of five 
implementation segments. In the interim, new information came to light 
regarding the archaeological resources present in connection with the 
Hahn Archaeological District. The discovery of this information 
prompted a re-evaluation of the Tier 1 ROD to determine if the decision 
contained there-in remained valid and if a Supplemental EIS should be 
prepared prior to moving into a Tier 2 EIS. On February 9, 2012 FHWA 
recommended advancing the project into a Tier 2 EIS as the appropriate 
level of study and analysis to determine the significance of impacts to 
archaeological sites.
    Recognizing the complex interests associated with the SR 32 
Relocation Project, ODOT and FHWA in 2013 engaged the U.S. Institute 
for Environmental Conflict Resolution (USIECR) and a facilitation team 
as neutral, outside entities. Their purpose was to review the project 
and carry out a collaborative process to help inform future decisions 
on the feasibility of project development continuing on this project. 
The study identified key stakeholder interests associated with the SR 
32 Relocation Project from their interviews, including the need to: 
Improve transportation safety and efficiency; protect the natural 
environment; facilitate regional economic development; protect quality 
of life issues; be fiscally responsible and allocate limited dollars to 
the most pressing needs; safeguard historic and archeological 
resources; and make decisions in a reasonable timeframe. Their 
situation assessment presented eight options to consider in deciding 
whether and how to move ahead with the SR 32 Project. These ranged from 
not proceeding with the project at this time to proceeding as planned 
to fulfill NEPA, with various options in between that considered 
reframing/rethinking aspects of the project. In conjunction with the 
situation assessment process, FHWA and ODOT coordinated with nine 
federally[hyphen]recognized tribes, state/federal resource/regulatory 
agencies and extensive coordination with the public and area 
stakeholders. Upon deliberation of the options to move forward, ODOT 
concluded that the

[[Page 65695]]

original new alignment Tier 1 corridors for Segment II/III were deemed 
not reasonable due to their potential for significant environmental 
impacts and extensive public controversy.
    ODOT is moving forward with the project development process to 
consider alternatives that have the potential for lower overall 
impacts, focusing on improvements to existing transportation corridors 
rather than new alignments through this environmentally complex area. 
Alignment alternatives on existing SR 32, US 50 and other roadways 
could include: Adding turn lanes, interchange improvements, widening to 
enhance capacity; minor realignments; improving signal timing and/or 
coordination; installing new signal(s); and other improvements. If any 
of these improvements require the preparation of an Environmental 
Impact Statement, future Notices of Intent may be filed.
    The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required 
by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or 
have been, carried-out by ODOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a 
Memorandum of Understanding dated December 11, 2015, and executed by 
FHWA and ODOT.

(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: September 6, 2016.
Robert L. Griffith,
Acting Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, 
Columbus, Ohio.
[FR Doc. 2016-22910 Filed 9-22-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P



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