RS&H provided numerous services related to this project development and environment (PD&E) study, including assistance in the NEPA process, preparation of NEPA and design traffic documents, development of alternative alignments to avoid and minimize impacts to Section 4(f) properties, evaluation of wetland impacts and mitigation alternatives, preparation of cost estimates, and toll feasibility studies.
RS&H faced two major challenges on the project. The first was public involvement and achieving consensus among the two involved municipalities and two separate counties on the preferred replacement bridge location. RS&H overcame this challenge through communication of solid engineering and environmental data. The project team set up a Project Advisory Group composed of representatives from the affected communities and other local stakeholders. In addition, RS&H held special meetings with the stakeholders to resolve any conflicts. RS&H’s ability to elevate the regional benefits of the project improvements above the parochial issues on each side of the bay were instrumental in securing consensus for the project.
The second challenge was securing Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval of the use of parkland on each side of the bay crossing and demonstrating that there was no feasible alternative to the use of park property. RS&H created a mitigation plan that incorporated multimodal connectivity across the bay, provided safer access to the parks, improved circulation within the parks, and provided covered parking by extending the bridges through the park area. RS&H prepared numerous post-construction perspective views that demonstrated the major improvements that would be realized.
RS&H’s familiarity with the NEPA process and preparation of quality documents minimized FHWA review time and provided a legally sufficient decision for the use of Section 4(f) parkland and a NEPA compliant “Finding of No Significant Impact” for the project.