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Environmental Review Toolkit


Exemplary Ecosystem Initiatives — 2012

New York: New York State Department of Transportation Route 3 Emergency Contract

Photograph of a storm-damaged slope of the Saranac River

Figure 1. Storms in 2011 damaged river slopes along the Saranac River.
Source: John Falge, NYSDOT, Region 7

Photograph of a restored section of the Saranac River

Figure 2. The Route 3 Emergency Contract project reestablished traffic along the corridor while protecting local environmental resources.
Source: John Falge, NYSDOT, Region 7

In 2011, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) developed the New York State Route 3 Emergency Contract to focus on emergency roadway, river, and slope repairs needed along the Route 3 corridor as a result of excessive spring flooding and Hurricane Irene, which impacted the area in August 2011. As part of this effort, NYSDOT partnered with Federal and State regulatory agencies to improve the site by applying sustainable environmental solutions that serve both the needs of the area's transportation infrastructure and protect the natural environment.

During a two-week period in late April and early May 2011, heavy weather brought storms, flooding, tornadoes, and high winds to New York State and the surrounding region, resulting in widespread flooding and damage to many areas, including much of the infrastructure in Clinton County, New York. Following the storm, in June 2011, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration covering Clinton County.

As a result of the strong storms, a slope failure occurred next to the roadside between the Saranac River and Route 3. To address this issue, NYSDOT performed a series of repairs, including excavation of the failed slope approximately 400 to 500 feet along the outside of the bend in the river, deposit of stone fill along the river bank to stabilize the shoreline, reestablishment of the slope up to the highway, and the construction of a short section of vegetated wall along the highway.

As part of its efforts to act sustainably throughout the rehabilitation, NYSDOT received regulatory permits for the disposal of solid waste and other debris, including trees, and for the disturbance of stream beds and banks as part of its work to repair infrastructure in or adjacent to regulated river and wetland areas. The Route 3 corridor emergency repairs required compliance with the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as well as with policies established by Federal and State regulatory agencies. Both the SEQR and NEPA reviews resulted in a determination that the Route 3 corridor repairs had no potential significant effect to the valued ecosystems or surrounding environment. As a result of its comprehensive and thoughtful efforts, NYSDOT has been able to reestablish normal and safe traveling conditions along the Route 3 corridor and maintain the protection of environmental resources.

For more information, contact John Falge, New York State Department of Transportation, at