U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Washington Division (WADIV) has developed the following Project Delivery Report which highlights some of the broad array of activities / initiatives / approvals we perform to assist the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and local agencies in delivering projects.
The month of August was a month of major accomplishments. For over a decade, the Washington Division and WSDOT have partnered in delivering two major projects: 1) the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement and 2) the State Route (SR) 520 Floating Bridge Replacement.
On August 4, 2011 after years of analysis and public outreach, the record of decision (ROD) was signed for the $3.45 billion SR 520 floating bridge replacement – the world's longest floating bridge. The ROD allows the project to move forward with final design, ROW acquisition, construction.
On August 22, 2011 the ROD for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement project was signed after nearly 10 years of environmental review and analysis. This $1.96 billion project will be a 57-foot diameter, 1.7 mile long bored tunnel running under downtown Seattle. The tunnel will replace the doubledeck waterfront viaduct damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake.
The Washington Division Office recently completed the biannual review of the Categorical Exclusion Memorandum of Understanding (CE per MOU) which delegates signature authority on some CEs to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT was found to be in substantial compliance with the terms of the CE per MOU, and an action plan has been developed to address those areas which may require further training of WSDOT staff or minor modification of the terms of the CE per MOU. In addition to assessing compliance with the terms of the CE per MOU, we also assessed how effective it is as a streamlining tool.
The assessment found there were 835 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents approved for Federalaid projects in Washington State in calendar years 2009 and 2010. Of these, four (0.5%) were records of decision (RODs) for NEPA environmental impact statements (EISs), eight (1%) were Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs) for NEPA environmental assessments (EAs), and the remainder (98.5%) were CEs. Of the 823 which were CEs, 62% were signed by WSDOT under the CE per MOU. The percentage of CE projects approved by WSDOT in accordance with the CE per MOU has increased by 21% since the last review was conducted. A revision to the CE per MOU was approved in 2009 to address the findings of the previous review. Division staff believes that the combination of the clarifications added to the agreement, and the attention focused on it after the review helped to increase the use of this important streamlining tool.
This chart shows the timeliness of approval of documented categorical exclusions (DCEs) semi-annually from FY2007 to FY2011.
As the chart depicts, we are approving the vast majority of DCEs within the first 10 days of receipt.
This chart shows the timeliness of approval for right-of-way (R/W) Certifications 3 (Cert. 3s)
Certifications that took longer than 10 days required negotiations that took additional time to finalize.
|*||Approval of certifications 1 and 2 have been delegated to WSDOT.|
|**||In order to authorize the advertisement of a project for construction, the State must certify the R/W has been cleared, per 23 CFR 635.309.|
|***||Certification 3s are to be used only in very unusual circumstances.|
|Number of Days||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011|
|0 to 5 Days||208||780||858||724||1327||1463||1456||943||1451||1645||2261||1936||1791|
|6 to 10 Days||24||241||307||121||90||101||103||68||175||128||113||131||41|
|11 to 15 Days||12||77||109||39||10||22||24||13||37||12||7||18||7|
|16 to 20 Days||9||29||34||21||5||3||8||1||18||5||1||3||2|
|20 + Days||31||152||68||98||52||15||17||8||16||13||5||1||0|
This table reflects the number of authorizations / modifications approved within certain timeframes since 1999.
(Note: the FY begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year.)
FHWA's National Review Team (NRT) visited Washington State in July and September 2011 to review the state's five TIGER projects. The NRT is a team formed of FHWA national experts. The team's goal is to ensure that the TIGER projects are built according to and in compliance with Federal regulations. The NRT assisted by Division staff conducted, respectively, TIGER I and TIGER II reviews. Both reviews concluded that WSDOT, the local agencies, and the FHWA Washington Division are providing excellent oversight to the projects. The five TIGER projects reviewed included: 1) the Mercer Corridor Project in Seattle ($30 Million); 2) the US 395 NSC SB Lanes in Spokane ($35 Million); 3) the South Park Bridge Replacement in King County ($34 million); 4) the East Foster Wells Road Extension Phase 2 in Franklin County ($1.01 million); and the West Vancouver Freight Access Project in Clark County ($10 million). All projects are currently under construction and progressing well.
This chart shows the timeliness of approval for emergency relief (ER) damage inspection reports. Our goal is to approve 90% of
these reports within 10 days of receipt.
The Washington State DOT (WSDOT) received a letter dated August 30, 2011 from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) formally agreeing to a streamlining measure developed in negotiation with the Washington Division and WSDOT staff. The NMFS rules allow for development of a "4(d) Rule" to document endangered species act (ESA) compliance for agency actions that generally contribute to the recovery of species. The 4(d) Rule that WSDOT and 29 Washington Local Agencies negotiated with NMFS many years ago covers certain emergency response work as defined in WSDOT's Regional Program. The 4(d) Rule is used for maintenance activities that generally are not eligible for federal-aid funding, so it was never considered applicable to any project with a federal nexus. The August 30, 2011 NMFS letter expands that applicability by stating that federal-aid Emergency Relief (ER) projects that meet the requirements of the 4(d) Rule can use the 4(d) Rule rather than conducting a Section 7 consultation to meet FHWA's ESA obligations. This will eliminate the need to prepare Biological Assessments for many of the minor projects that qualify for ER funding.
Streamlining project delivery is one of the initiative of Every Day Counts (EDC). Shortening processes to enable faster project delivery is the goal.
For more information contact:
FHWA Washington Division
|Yamilée P. Volcy
SW and Eastern Regions Area Engineer
FHWA Washington Division