August 17, 2017
Innovation of the Month:
Integrating NEPA and Permitting
The integrating National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and permitting approach features best practices, data management, and tools to help agencies develop new or leverage existing integration practices and facilitate interagency coordination on transportation projects.
One tool the Federal Highway Administration is promoting in Every Day Counts round four (EDC-4) is eNEPA, an online system that supports timely, consistent coordination among agencies on permitting processes. The newest version, eNEPA 2.0, includes customizable workflows, improved document review functions, and a dashboard function.
Another tool is the 2015 Red Book: Synchronizing Environmental Reviews for Transportation and Other Infrastructure Projects, a how-to guide on integrating and synchronizing projects that agencies can use to improve current processes or develop new ones.
The EDC-4 approach to integrating NEPA and permitting processes builds on project streamlining strategies from earlier EDC rounds. These strategies include programmatic agreements to handle routine environmental requirements and improving collaboration and quality environmental documentation on projects.
Visit the Integrating NEPA and Permitting Resources Library for case studies, tools, State agreements, publications, and presentations.
See the FHWA Environmental Review Toolkit for information and resources.
Delaware Bridge Project Uses Ultra-High Performance Concrete
The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) received an Accelerated Innovation Deployment Demonstration program award to use an ultra-high performance concrete overlay on a bridge replacement project in Blackbird. The project involves replacing corrugated metal pipe arches with prestressed concrete box beams on concrete stub abutments with the UHPC overlay. Using UHPC is expected to result in a strong, high-quality bridge that will require fewer future repairs. DelDOT, which is replacing the bridge during a full road closure on a section of Blackbird Station Road, expects to reopen the road to traffic by mid-September.
Virginia Delivers Express Lanes Project With Design-Build
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is using design-build contracting to deliver the 395 Express Lanes project, which will extend the express lanes on I-95 for 7.7 miles north to the Washington, D.C., line. The project will improve the regular lanes on I-395 and add a third reversible lane, reducing congestion and enhancing mobility for travelers. The project will extend the benefits of the 95 Express Lanes, giving drivers the option to pay a toll during rush hour for a faster, more predictable trip. VDOT and its design-build partners are minimizing impacts during construction by doing on-road work on the corridor outside of rush hour periods. Contact Elliott Moore of the FHWA Virginia Division for information.
Road Diet Policies Expand Deployment
Adopting a road diet policy or guidance helps agencies expand implementation of roadway reconfiguration and results in benefits such as improved safety, increased multimodal use, and public acceptance. Agency guidance or policies can also provide an approved road diet template, framework, or design criteria to jumpstart the design and implementation process. FHWA’s Road Diet Policies compiles a variety of policies and guidance agencies can refer to as they develop policies, such as the Florida Department of Transportation Statewide Lane Elimination Guidance and St. Louis County, MO, Road Diet Policy. For information, contact Becky Crowe of the FHWA Office of Safety.