NEPA Process

An Environmental Assessment (EA) process will be conducted for this project, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). An EA—a tier 2 NEPA process—defines the purpose and need for transportation improvements in the project area to:

  • identify alternatives to satisfy the purpose and need;
  • evaluate the alternatives; and
  • analyze and document the potential environmental, social, and economic impacts of the reasonable alternative(s).

The project advances improvements that were selected in the 2011 Record of Decision (ROD).

NEPA Process

  1. Define the Purpose & Need.
    This step will examine existing and future (year 2040) traffic, future land use plans, roadway deficiencies, travel reliability, freight traffic and other similar problems that a CDOT transportation project can address.

  2. Gather Data.
    This step involves collecting engineering data such as drainage problems; transportation data such as bicycle needs; environmental data such as wildlife usage, historic properties, and neighborhood characteristics; and land use planning information from local jurisdictions.

  3. Develop & Evaluate Alternatives.
    The alternatives being considered are consistent with those in the 2011 ROD. The team will look for the best and least impactful way to add auxiliary lanes to Vail Pass.

  4. Refine Alternatives/Identify Reasonable Alternatives &/Or a Preferred Alternative or Proposed Action.
    This task includes developing more detail for a smaller set of alternatives or one proposed action. It includes identifying the best location for new lanes, what bridges might look like, where wildlife crossings should be located, if noise mitigation might be needed, and other details.

  5. Determine Environmental Impacts & Mitigation.
    This process entails scientific analysis to identify direct, indirect, and cumulative effects to natural resources (wildlife, aquatic resources, wetlands, vegetation, threatened and endangered species, floodplains, water quality); social resources (community cohesion, neighborhoods, individual residences, low-income or minority communities, community facilities); economic resources; and other resources, such as air quality, noise, and National Forest lands

  6. Prepare NEPA Documentation.
    This step involves preparation of an EA document, allowing 30 days for public review and comment, and holding a public meeting or hearing.

  7. Complete Decision Document.
    (if no significant impacts are found)
    • Respond to public comment.
    • Identify if any comments received require additional evaluation or changes to what was presented in the EA
    • Complete the decision document
NEPA Process