Oct. 21, 2019
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:
APPLICANT Branch-Flatiron, Joint Venture c/o Mr. Kenny Haynes 442 Rutherford Avenue, NE Roanoke, Virginia 24016
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: The project is located in waters and wetlands associated with the hydrologic unit code (HUC) 02080104 (Lower Rappahannock watershed) and HUC 02070011 (Lower Potomac watershed). The project area includes Potomac Creek, Beaverdam Creek, Accokeek Creek, Lower Aquia Creek, Chopwamsic Creek, and drainage basins to the Rappahannock River and Hazel Run and all tributaries to Chesapeake Bay. The project is on Interstate 95 (I-95) beginning at exit number 133 and continuing north to approximately exit number 148 in Prince William and Stafford Counties, Virginia.
PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE: The applicant proposes to improve an approximate fifteen-mile long section of the I-95 corridor with the extension of two high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, or Express Lanes, in the median between the I-95 northbound and southbound lanes in Prince William and Stafford Counties, Virginia. The proposed project, known as the I-95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension Project, involves approximately ten miles of new roadway construction from the I-95/US 17 North (Warrenton Road) interchange (Exit 133) to the I-95/Garrisonville Road interchange (Exit 143), as well as new ramp construction near the I-95/ Russell Road interchange (Exit 148) and other associated roadway improvements. The proposed project includes the development of four bridges and four access ramps (which include bridge elements). The proposed project will consist of two,12-foot reversible lanes with a 10-foot shoulder on each side along with necessary tolling equipment. The proposed new Express Lane access points will be located at I-95/Russell Road at the Quantico Base (Exit 148), I-95/VA 630 at Courthouse Road (Exit 140), and I-95/US 17 at Warrenton Road (Exit 133). The applicant’s stated purpose for the project is to reduce daily congestion and accommodate travel demands more efficiently with a secondary stated purpose to provide higher reliability of travel times and to expand travel choices along the I-95 corridor.
The applicant has stated that the construction of the proposed I-95 Express Lanes are intended to be used as managed lanes that provide free or tolled access for personal and select commercial vehicles, depending on vehicle occupancy (vehicles with three or more riders may use the lanes toll free). Variable tolling will be used to ensure that the I-95 Express Lanes are free flowing. i.e., tolls will increase during times of congestion to discourage the use of the lanes by casual users. Development of the I-95 Express Lanes will also serve to encourage ride share transit options such as commuter buses and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) use.
Proposed impacts to wetlands and waters are associated with "cut and fill" operations within the median and right of way (ROW), installation of erosion control devices, stormwater management, construction access, and other associated construction-related activities. This project as proposed will permanently impact a total of approximately 7.25 acres of non-tidal wetlands, including 5.46 acres of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands, 0.23 acres of palustrine scrub-shrub (PSS) wetlands, and 1.56 acres of palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands. In addition, there are 0.26 acres of permanent impact proposed for Palustrine Unconsolidated Bottom (PUB). Additionally, the proposed project will result in permanent impacts to 13,346 linear feet of stream channel. The permanent stream impacts include 6,383 linear feet of perennial (R3), 5,278 linear feet of intermittent (R4), and 1,685 linear feet of ephemeral (RE). There are proposed temporary impacts from construction activities to 0.56 acres of non-tidal wetlands and 784 linear feet of stream.
Measures used to avoid and minimize the impacts to wetlands and waters of the U.S. include consideration of the proposed project within the existing median precluding any additional ROW acquisition or land disturbance outside of VDOT ROW. The applicant stated that the proposed project represents the best use of the land to maximize Express Lane capacity while avoiding or minimizing impacts to adjacent land uses and natural resources. Minimization of impacts to natural resources for the project began with the determination to use reversible lanes to meet the need of reducing congestion and meeting travel demand. The applicant stated that the project design has considered methods to minimize impact through review of the road alignment and section, grading, and the best way to span Potomac Creek (single-span bridge therefore, resulting in no permanent fill within the streambed for bridge construction). All grading and stormwater design have been completed to the level needed while minimizing impacts where possible to include the use of reduced fill slopes, reduction of length to access stormwater management basins, and the re-use of existing pipes to reduce permanent impacts to wetlands and streams, as well as other design configurations.
The applicant proposes to compensate for proposed permanent impacts through the purchase of mitigation bank credits from approved mitigation banks within the watershed; and once no additional mitigation bank credits are available, the remainder will be purchased through the in-lieu fee program within the watershed at a replacement ratio of 1:1 for PEM, 1.5:1 for PSS, and 2:1 for PFO wetland impacts for a total 12.83 of non-tidal wetland credits to be purchased. The applicant also proposes to purchase stream credits which will be based on the Uniform Stream Methodology for a total of 12,098 stream credits.
In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit/401 certification from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated. Project drawings are attached.
AUTHORITY: Permits are required pursuant to Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.
FEDERAL EVALUATION OF APPLICATION: The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. The decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All of the proposal's relevant factors will be considered, including conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, cultural values, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, consideration of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people. The Environmental Protection Agency's "Guidelines for Specification of Disposal Sites for Dredged or Fill Material" will also be applied (Section 404(b)(1) of the Clean Water Act).
The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity. Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit application by writing to the District Commander within 30 days of the date of this notice, stating specific reasons for holding the public hearing. The District Commander will then decide if a hearing should be held.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead agency for this project and will be coordinating all final required consultations to fulfill the collective federal responsibilities under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (PL 93-205) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (PL 89-665). FHWA prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in 2011. FHWA prepared a Revised EA in 2017 and re-issued a FONSI for the proposed project on March 19, 2018.
Preliminary review indicates that: Preliminary review indicates that (based on FHWA coordination): (1) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) all required coordination to include both previously completed formal programmatic and informal consultation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884, as amended) has been completed by the Federal Highway Administration, lead federal agency, and no further coordination is required and the Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table is attached for reference; and (3) all required consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act has been completed by the Federal Highway Administration (lead federal agency), and no further coordination is required. Additional information might change any of these findings.
For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Tidewater, the applicant must certify that federally licensed or permitted activities affecting Virginia's coastal uses or resources will be conducted in a manner consistent with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). We have not received a certification from the applicant prior to publication of this public notice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the Office of Environmental Impact Review for concurrence or objection and proof of concurrence must be submitted to the Corps prior to final permit issuance. A template federal consistency certification can be found here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/EnvironmentalImpactReview/FederalConsistency Reviews.aspx#cert . For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the VCP, contact the Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Environmental Impact Review at (804) 698-4330 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WR-R), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on November 21, 2019.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including the identity of the submitter, submitted in response to this Public Notice may be disclosed, reproduced, and distributed at the discretion of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information that is submitted in connection with this Public Notice cannot be maintained as confidential by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions should not include any information that the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.
If you have any questions about this project or the permit process, contact Lee Fuerst at 757-201-7832 or email her at email@example.com.
Attachments for NAO-2016-00744: Drawings of proposed activities Vicinity Map FWS Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table (North and South)