Environmental Review Toolkit
Accelerating Project Delivery

U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration logo July 28, 2006 Ohio Division Office
200 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

In Reply Refer To:
HPD-OH

United States Environmental Protection Agency
Attn: Mr. Kenneth Westlake, Chief
Environmental Planning and Evaluation Branch
Mail Code (B-19J)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Dear Mr. Westlake:

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are initiating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to improve the 6.5-mile segment of Interstate 75 (I-75) between Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, which includes the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River. The southern limit of the project is approximately the interchange of I-75 and Kyles Lane in Kentucky (Exit 189). The northern limit of the project is approximately the interchange of I-75 and the Western Hills Viaduct Interchange in Ohio (Exit 2B). The FHWA, Ohio Division Office will serve as the lead Federal agency for this project. ODOT and KYTC will serve as joint lead agencies.

In accordance with the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) Section 6002, FHWA invites your agency to be a participating agency in the environmental review process for the Brent Spence Bridge Replacement/Rehabilitation project. Enclosed with this correspondence are copies of the Purpose and Need Statement, Coordination Plan, and Red Flag Summary. The FHWA requests that your agency review these documents and provide comments and identify any environmental issues of concern associated with the proposed project.

Pursuant to Section 6002 of SAFETEA-LU, participating agencies are responsible for identifying, as early as practicable, any issues of concern regarding the project's potential environmental, social, or economic impacts that could substantially delay or prevent an agency from granting a permit or other approval that is needed for the project. Section 6002 is intended to assure that agencies are fully engaged in the scoping of the project and the decisions regarding alternatives to be evaluated in detail in the NEPA analysis. We suggest that your agency's role in the development of the above project should include the following as they relate to your area of expertise:

  1. Provide meaningful and early input on defining the purpose and need, determining the range of alternatives to be considered, and the methodologies and level of detail required in alternatives analysis.
  2. Participate in coordination meetings and joint field reviews as appropriate.
  3. Provide timely review and comment on the pre-draft or pre-final environmental documents to reflect the views and concerns of your agency on the adequacy of the document, alternatives considered, and the anticipated impacts and mitigation.

We understand Region 5 will serve as the lead for this project. Please respond to FHWA, the Ohio Division Office in writing with an acceptance or denial of the invitation no more than 30-days from the date of this letter. If you should choose to decline the invitation, the response should state your reason for doing so. Pursuant to SAFETEA-LU Sec. 6002, any Federal agency that chooses to decline the invitation must specifically state that the agency:

  • Has no jurisdiction or authority with respect to the project;
  • Has no expertise or information relevant to the project; and
  • Does not intend to submit comments on the project.

Currently the project is in the early stages of the preliminary development process. To date, a Purpose and Need Statement, a Red Flag Summary, and a Coordination Plan have been prepared. The Red Flag Summary identifies potentially sensitive locations that may require additional coordination activities. Red flags may also affect the anticipated project design, estimated project budget, or construction schedule. Notices of Intent for the preparation of an EIS were published in the Federal Register on June 1, 2000 and July 20, 2006. The former notice initiated the scoping process during the Major Investment Study for anticipated projects along this corridor. The latter notice describes this specific project and advises the public of the earlier notice and preliminary work performed previously.

After all participating agencies have been identified, we intend to prepare and circulate for comments a proposed project schedule. The project schedule will explain the project documents that each agency will be expected to review, the dates that we expect the documents to be submitted, and the timeframe in which we expect to receive agency comments.

If you have any questions regarding the enclosed documents and/or the Brent Spence Bridge Replacement/Rehabilitation project in general, please contact Messrs. Stew Sonnenberg or Mark VonderEmbse at 614-280-6837 or 614-280-6854 or email at stew.sonnenberg@fhwa.dot.gov or mark.vonderembse@fhwa.dot.gov, respectively.

Sincerely,

For: Dennis A. Decker
Division Administrator

Encl.

cc:
USEPA (R-4)
S. Spinosa, ODOT D-8
M. Loyselle, FHWA-KY
HR
VP
DS
MS
MVE
SS
File: HAM, 75119

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