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Federal Highway Administration Signs Decision Document on US 550 South Connection to US 160 in Durango

April 29, 2015 - Southwestern Colorado/CDOT Region 5 - US 550 will connect to interchange bridge.

LA PLATA COUNTY – On April 23, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the US 550 South Connection to US 160 project, completing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process. The federal agency, which oversees work on the national highway system (and roadway projects receiving federal funding), also signed the revised Section 4(f)* Analysis and the SFEIS re-evaluation for the connection project on the same day.

The SEIS reevaluated a portion of the original 2006 US 160 Durango to Bayfield EIS project, and looked at both previous and new alternatives developed to reduce impact to historic properties, including the Webb Ranch, identified after the completion of the previous ROD.  During the SEIS process several new alternatives were suggested by the public, which were evaluated by an independent team of engineers and planners.  In addition, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation participated in the resolution of adverse effects to historic properties. 

The independent team refined the original SEIS Preferred Alternative (Revised G Modified or RGM) to a design variation located further west, called Revised G Modified 6 (RGM6). The RGM6 alternative is the Preferred Alternative.  The independent engineering firm also helped with a preliminary assessment of the environmental impacts. Additional items such as cost, logistics and constructability were considered, which is consistent with screening criteria utilized in the SEIS. This work also included collection of updated data and outreach to La Plata County, the City of Durango, the Growth Fund Real Estate Group and property owners in the area.

This past December, CDOT hosted an open house to enable the public to view details of the newly refined US 550 connection to US 160 Preferred Alternative, as well as other alternatives that were developed by an independent team over the past year.

“This has been a long process, but we have reached a good place,” CDOT Region 5 Transportation Director Kerrie Neet said. “Recent collaboration with impacted property owners and community stakeholders have resulted in a design modification to the Preferred Alternative that greatly reduces impacts to historical resources.” 

Once the Notice of Availability of the ROD is placed in the Federal Register, there will be a 150-day period during which claims can be filed requesting judicial review of the federal action. While CDOT does not have funding identified for construction, approximately $1 million has been set aside for right-of-way and design work.

US 550 South Connection Alternatives and project history can be found here:  https://www.codot.gov/projects/us550-at-160.

CDOT PROJECT INFORMATION: To stay up to date on other CDOT projects, traffic impacts and more, the public may sign up for email and wireless (text) alerts. Go to www.codot.gov and click on the white envelop at the bottom of the page. Lane closures and winter driving conditions are also available on CDOT’s web site.

*Section 4(f) is an FHWA regulation that governs the use of land from publicly owned parks, recreation areas, wildlife and

waterfowl refuges, and public or private historic sites for Federal highway projects. The Section 4(f) evaluation requires two findings that must be demonstrated through coordination with FHWA and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO): (1) That there is no feasible and prudent alternative that completely avoids the use of Section 4(f) property; and (2) That the project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the Section 4(f) property resulting from the transportation use (see 23 CFR 774.3[a]).

 

 

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