Evaluation Guidance


The Context Statement and Core Values developed through the I-70 Mountain Corridor Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process have generated example Criteria for Evaluation of alternatives. The Context Statement, Core Values, and project-specific purpose and need are the basis for selection and customization of these criteria.

Stakeholder comments provided the foundation for the Context Statement and Core Values, and each has been vetted through agency and public stakeholders for approval. To that end, these documents have broad support and are widely accepted throughout the I-70 Mountain Corridor.

It is important to note that the list of potential criteria herein does not replace Scoping activities or the Purpose and Need required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Rather, it provides continuity and acknowledges the years of active participation by stakeholders in studies along the corridor. It also results in early and effective integration of the Core Values into the process, thereby minimizing costs and delays.

Developing Criteria

The Project Leadership Team (PLT) should review the Context Statement, Core Values, and the project-specific purpose and need for every project in order to determine appropriate project goals and relevant criteria. As part of its Project Work Plan, the PLT will review and endorse the process that provides opportunities for the public to comment on the Context Statement and Core Values for this project. Some Core Values may be of higher priority than others on a particular project.

Using Criteria in Evaluation

Several levels of criteria may be used to evaluate the alternatives. The number of levels is dependent on the complexity of the project. It is anticipated that larger, more complex projects will go through three levels of evaluation: Feasibility, Conceptual, and Detailed. These levels correlate to the increasing design complexity of the alternatives.

Feasibility evaluation focuses on eliminating alternative(s) that do not meet purpose and need or are unfeasible (i.e., have fatal flaws). The alternatives are evaluated for unacceptable environmental impacts and incompatibility with local, state, and corridor plans.

Conceptual evaluation is used to compare alternatives and measure how well an alternative achieves the Core Values of the project.

Detailed evaluation provides continued refinement of the alternative(s), seeks balance between benefits and impacts, and considers mitigation opportunities. This quantitative analysis serves as the final step in developing the recommended alternative.