What is an environmental study and what is it intended to accomplish?
An environmental study is a comprehensive, engineering and scientific based evaluation of problems and solutions that helps to inform decision-makers and the public of whether proposed transportation improvements will have significant impacts to the community and environmental resources in the area.
Who is responsible for this study?
The study was initially sponsored by Washington City.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is the steward of the environmental process, assigned through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). As such, UDOT is responsible for ensuring that the study is performed consistent with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). While input from Washington City and the public is vital in helping shape the scope and outcome of the study, UDOT has final approval and decision-making authority.
The Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization (DMPO) is involved because they are the agency responsible for coordinating regional transportation planning throughout Washington County.
Horrocks Engineers is the private consulting firm hired to provide technical expertise and to perform the study under the direction of UDOT.
Where did funding for the study come from?
The study is funded primarily from federal transportation dollars administered through the DMPO. Washington City and UDOT have also contributed towards the funding. As the lead agency with federal oversight responsibility, UDOT has the resources and processes in place to administer the study.
Has the decision to build an interchange already been made? Is the purpose of the study just to look at impacts of an interchange and what do to about them?
No decision has been made as to what improvements are needed or what could fix the existing or future problems. The study is being done to identify the problems, brainstorm solutions, and analyze the impacts of those solutions. While alternatives have not yet been developed, the study will likely consider an interchange as a component of the overall system of long-term transportation solutions for Washington City.
All reasonable improvement options are on the table. The study will also include an in-depth analysis of a “No-build” alternative, which will examine the consequences of not building anything. Selecting the No-build alternative may also be a viable outcome of the study. No decision will be finalized until the study is complete.
Why are any improvements being considered?
This study is being conducted with an eye towards solving current and future transportation problems. Projected growth by 2040 means that more cars will be on the road and that travel in Washington City will be more difficult than it is today. The transportation mobility, travel delay, queuing and congestion problems surrounding the Green Spring Drive (Exit 10) interchange and the Telegraph Road corridor through Washington will substantially increase if nothing is done to address them. The study is being done now in an attempt to get out in front of these future problems and develop solutions that can be implemented before the problems become unmanageable.
How will all the needed transportation improvements in the area be included in the study process?
This study will account for projects currently listed in DMPO’s Long Range Plan (LRP) through 2040. It will also include projects listed in the Washington City Transportation Master Plan and the UDOT Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan. These improvements will be taken into consideration when modeling traffic and analyzing alternatives.
Are freeway entrance/exit ramps at the new Mall Drive crossing an option?
Freeway entrance and exit ramps are not feasible with the new Mall Drive underpass crossing due to the tight spacing of Red Cliffs Drive and Red Hills Parkway to the freeway.
The other concern would be close spacing between the Mall Drive underpass and the Exit 8/St. George Boulevard interchange. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations, there is not enough room to safely accommodate all the entrance, exit and weaving movements on the freeway between these two locations.
How can I provide input?
You may call the study hotline (435-477-6211), email the team: email@example.com, visit the website or attend one of the three scheduled public meetings.
What kind of comments are effective?
Constructive, well thought out comments are the most important contribution from citizens. Accordingly, comments should be clear, concise and relevant to the study. Comments that are problem-focused, solution-oriented and provide specific details and examples are the most helpful. Comments that contribute to developing alternatives that address the purpose and need for the study are very effective. Input will be accepted at any time during the study process, but formal comments will be solicited during public scoping (Summer/Fall 2017), alternatives and development screening (Fall 2017/Winter 2018) and during the public hearing period (Summer 2018).
Please remember that commenting is not a form of “voting.” The number of positive or negative comments received does not prevent an action from being stopped or moving forward. Numerous comments that repeat the same basic message of support or opposition will typically be responded to collectively. Also, comments that just express like or dislike without supporting arguments do not help the team understand your concerns and do not contribute towards solutions.
How will my comments be incorporated?
Public comments help identify concerns from a local perspective, allowing UDOT, Washington City and the study team to understand how certain decisions would play out if implemented in the community.
All comments received will be reviewed by the study team to determine how they apply. The final environmental document will contain a list of all the formal comments received during the process along with a brief explanation of how they were addressed.
What planning efforts have been done to initiate this study?
Planning efforts completed over the past 10 years have led to the I-15 MP 11 Interchange study. Results and recommendations of each are included in the reports found here.