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2013 Environmental Excellence Awards

Environmental Streamlining (Every Day Counts)

Project Title

Twin Tunnels Environmental Assessment

Agencies Awarded

Atkins North America

  • Allan Brown


  • Mandy Whorton

Colorado Department of Transportation

  • Benjamin Acimovic, Jim Bemelen, Vanessa Henderson, David Singer

Federal Highway Administration, Colorado Division

  • Randy Jensen, Melinda Urban

Federal Highway Administration Western Legal Services

  • Lance Hanf

Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.

  • Gina McAfee (now of HDR, Inc.)

The Twin Tunnels Environmental Assessment (EA) exemplifies environmental streamlining practices. The EA, started in October 2011 and approved under a Finding of No Significant Impact in October 2012, addressed pressing needs in the Twin Tunnels area in Colorado, including safety concerns through and east of the tunnels, and eastbound congestion along the Interstate 70 (I-70) Mountain Corridor. The project successfully incorporated strategies from the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Every Day Counts initiative, which aims to expedite project delivery while protecting the environment and enhancing roadway safety. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the FHWA Colorado Division, along with other Federal, State, and local agencies, worked to extend the EA beyond the normal scope of preliminary design; and instituted an early involvement agreement related to legal review. Legal staff site visits and reviews of EA drafts allowed the project team to resolve legal concerns early in the process, saving a month in the project's overall schedule.

CDOT and its partners engaged all stakeholders and held numerous meetings with community members and local leadership throughout the NEPA process. These efforts enhanced public support and streamlined project delivery. The project demonstrates a commitment to environmental streamlining, protection of the environment, and public involvement, all of which have helped CDOT protect environmental resources while meeting the Nation's growing transportation needs.

Photo of a two lane road emergining from a tunnel.
The EA covers the I-70 Twin Tunnels (shown here). The project will improve safety and congestion issues along the I-70 corridor.
Photo: CDOT

Updated: 12/16/2015
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