Feb. 18, 2020
FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE
The district commander has received a modification request for issued federal and state permits as described below:
FAM Construction LLC
Pablo Molla Ruiz
3877 Fairfax Ridge Road, Suite 300C
Fairfax, VA 22030
WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF WORK: The project known as the Interstate 66 Main Corridor Improvements Project is located on 22.5 miles of I-66 corridor, from the interchange of U.S. Route 29 to the I-495 interchange. The project will cross 10 named streams and many unnamed smaller tributaries, all of which are tributaries to the Potomac River, in Prince William and Fairfax counties, Virginia.
WORK AND PURPOSE: The I-66 Main Corridor Improvements Project is part of the overall Transform 66 P3 Project (also referred to as the “Transform 66 Outside the Beltway” project). An individual Department of the Army permit was issued for this project and became effective March 5. It is valid until Dec. 31, 2024 (copy of permit attached). This permit has been modified twice since issuance. The first time was March 29 in response to the permittee’s request to modify the language in project-specific special conditions 3(h) and 3(i) regarding compensatory mitigation (copy attached). The second time was June 3 in response to the permittee’s request to modify the language under project-specific special condition 3(i) for compensatory mitigation, regarding the bonding and endowment for the Keaton Farm permittee responsible mitigation site (copy attached). The current permit modification request is to account for changes to unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S. resulting from project design and construction implementation plan modifications. This being a design-build project, the plans have been modified to meet current Virginia Department of Transportation road and bridge standards and specifications based on further project investigations and surveys of existing conditions, a comprehensive construction/constructability review, and VDOT and local stakeholder review/comments of project plans. The permittee has provided a summary table of the design and construction revisions, as well as their associated unavoidable impacts to waters of the U.S. (attached). In addition, the permittee has provided red text markups of the Joint Permit Application, drawings and other documentation that provide more detail on the proposed modifications.
The permittee was authorized to extend the I-66 corridor about 22.5 miles from the interchange of U.S. Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Gainesville, Prince William County, to the I-495 interchange in Fairfax County. The proposed permit modification includes an extension of the project area approximately 1.5 miles along I-66 west of U.S. Route 29 to accommodate installation of various Intelligent Transportation Systems required by VDOT and the project developer. The stated purpose is to address existing and future transportation problems on I-66 and improve multimodal mobility along the corridor by providing diverse travel choices in a cost-effective manner, and to enhance transportation safety and travel reliability for the public. The project includes two express lanes alongside three general purpose lanes in each direction, as well as corridor-wide bike, pedestrian and interchange improvements to enhance safety and reduce congestion, including auxiliary lanes between interchanges. The project is compatible with future guideway transit in the median from I-495 to just west of State Route 28. The work also includes complete pavement reconstruction, widening and retrofit of existing structures, the construction of multiple new bridges over I-66 and the enhancement of numerous interchanges (some of which have been authorized by separate permit verifications). In addition, the I-66 main corridor improvements will include construction of new stormwater management ponds and retrofit of existing SWM ponds to manage the additional volume of stormwater runoff generated by implementing these improvements.
The issued permit authorized permanent impacts to 5,245 linear feet of stream channel and 4.83 acres of nontidal wetlands, and temporary impacts to 2,309 linear feet of stream and 0.34 acres of nontidal wetlands. The proposed modification would result in overall permanent impacts to 5,759 linear feet of stream channel (increase of 514 linear feet) and 5.182 acres of nontidal wetlands (increase of 0.352 acres), and overall temporary impacts to 2,309 linear feet of stream (increase of 15 linear feet) and 0.272 acres of nontidal wetlands (reduction of 0.068 acres).
The issued permit approved compensatory mitigation for unavoidable permanent stream impacts by requiring purchase of 5,539 credits from the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Mitigation Bank in Fairfax County. The number of credits to be purchased was based on the application of the Norfolk District Unified Stream Methodology. To compensate for additional stream impacts proposed by the modification request, the permittee proposes the purchase of an additional 364 credits per USM application to the additional 514 linear feet of permanent stream impacts. The issued permit approved compensatory mitigation for unavoidable permanent nontidal wetland impacts by use of the Keaton Farm permittee responsible mitigation site to compensate for 6.66 credits and purchase of 0.32 credits from the Hull Springs Farm Mitigation Bank. The permittee proposes to purchase an additional 0.64 wetland credits from an approved wetland bank to cover the increase in unavoidable wetland impacts proposed in the modification.
In addition to the required Department of the Army permit modification, the permittee must obtain a modification of the Virginia Water Protection Permit that was issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on Feb. 11, 2019, assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated, and a permit from the Prince William and Fairfax County Wetlands boards. Revised 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 MODIFICATION: The decision whether to issue a permit modification will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the revised 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 people’s needs and welfare. 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 modification. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny this permit modification request. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects and other public-interest factors listed above. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and overall interest in the proposed activity. Anyone may request a public hearing to consider this permit modification by writing to the district commander within 30 days of this notice date, stating specific reasons for holding it. The district commander will then decide if a hearing should take place.
The Federal Highway Administration is lead federal agency for this project and responsible for all required coordination under the National Historic Preservation Act and Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884, as amended). In an email dated Dec. 21, 2018, on behalf of FHWA, VDOT stated: “VDOT is in receipt of the concurrence from the Virginia SHPO regarding conclusion of Section 106 (inclusive of any tribal requirements) and the USFWS regarding conclusion of Section 7 consultation, as was provided to your office. We trust that the evidenced conclusion of these federally-authorized agencies with jurisdiction over these resources is sufficient for USACE's acceptance of this coordination and indicates that consultation is complete.” VDOT’s coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources included all project work areas including the ITS components; therefore, no further 106 coordination with VDHR was required for the proposed modification. The permittee updated Section 7 consultation for the proposed modified project and came to the same conclusions as previous coordination. The permittee is awaiting written concurrence from VDOT (FHWA’s designated representative) that obligations under Section 7 and Section 106 have been met for the proposed modified project.
For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for Tidewater projects, the permittee 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 and obtain concurrence from the DEQ’s Office of Environmental Impact Review. On behalf of FHWA, the permittee submitted a Federal Consistency Determination on July 28, 2017. A Federal Consistency Determination letter for the project was issued by DEQ on Oct. 24, 2017.
COMMENT PERIOD: Comments on this project modification should be in writing. They can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or regular mail, addressed to: Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN: CENAO-WRR-C), 803 Front St., Norfolk, Virginia 23510-1011. All comments should be received by close of business March 19.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY: Comments and information, including submitter identity, provided in response to this public notice may be disclosed, reproduced and distributed at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discretion. Information submitted in connection with the public notice cannot be maintained as confidential by USACE. Submissions should not include any information the submitter seeks to preserve as confidential.
If you have questions about this project or the permit process, contact David Knepper at email@example.com or 757-201-7488.
Attachments: drawings, modification request and attachments, previously approved permit modifications