US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2018-01698

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published March 12, 2021
Expiration date: 4/12/2021

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

The District Commander has received a joint application for Federal and State permits as described below:

APPLICANT
Branch Civil, Inc.

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in tributaries to Poorhouse Creek, Bull Mountain Fork, North Fork Poorhouse Creek which are tributaries to the South Mayo River, northeast of the town of Stuart in Patrick County, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to improve 7.8 miles of existing Route 58. The proposed work would begin just east of Cloudbreak Road (State Route 610), extend approximately 0.5-mile on a new location alignment from south of Poor Farmer’s Farm Country Store to join the existing alignment east of the Lovers Leap overlook. From east of the overlook to Central Academy Road (State Route 640), the existing two lanes would be upgraded and converted for westbound (uphill) traffic, and two new eastbound (downhill) lanes would be constructed on new location west of existing Route 58. From Route 640 to the existing four-lanes at Stuart, improvements to the existing alignment would include minor modifications to roadway geometry.

The applicant’s purpose and need is to address roadway and safety deficiencies along approximately 7.8 miles of Route 58 between just east of Cloudbreak Road (State Route 610) to the beginning of the existing four-lane section known as the Stuart Bypass.

The Project is intended to meet the following needs:

- Roadway deficiencies - the existing facility does not meet current rural principal arterial design standards nor does it provide adequate passing opportunities for the high percentage of trucks where steep grades are prevalent; and

- Safety - the crash rate in this section of Route 58 exceeds the statewide average for rural other principal arterials, as well as regional primary roads, and improvements are necessary to correct lane and shoulder widths, clear zones, steep slopes, and sight distances that contribute to safety issues.

In order to avoid and minimize impacts to aquatic resources the applicant shifted the eastbound lanes of the proposed bifurcated section of Route 58 to the south, eliminated a proposed driveway crossing in this area and lowered the roadway profile in this area.  These actions reduced stream impacts by 2,930 linear feet.  In addition, modifications in 5 areas consisting of stormwater management facility changes, using the steepest fill slopes possible and minimization of impacts at culvert outfalls/outlets further reduced project impacts to wetlands by 1,190 square feet and stream impacts by 1,010 linear feet.  The applicant designed the roadway vertical alignment to balance the cut and fill quantities such that impacts to aquatic resources in disposal were reduced as much as practicable.

Impacts to streams and wetlands have been increased from the initial application, link below, due to new topographic data that shows more excess material will result from excavation for the proposed road construction.  Even though the impacts have increased, the applicant is continuing to refine the roadway design in an effort to reduce impacts to aquatic resources.  The applicant is proposing permanent impacts to 2.17 acres of wetlands (1.14 acres of forested wetlands, 0.005 acres of scrub-shrub wetlands, 0.05 acres of emergent wetlands and 0.97 acres of palustrine open water/unconsolidated bottom impacts).  The proposed work would permanently impact 28,201 linear feet of stream channel (26,935 linear feet are perennial and intermittent streams and 1,267 linear feet of ephemeral streams).  Any temporary impacts to streams and wetlands will be in areas for which the applicant is seeking a permit.

Permanent impacts to streams will be mitigated by purchasing 37,250 stream credits from an approved stream bank servicing the impact watershed.  These include Roanoke River and Streams Bank, Raymond David Graham Bank and the Virginia Restoration Trust Fund in lieu fee.  Permanent impacts to wetlands will be mitigated by purchasing 2.3 acres of wetland credits from Banister Bend Bank and the Virginia Aquatic Resources Trust Fund.

The Joint Permit Application and revisions to the initially submitted permit application can be found on the VMRC Applications website under Additional Docs:  JPA 21-0379 at: 

https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/habitat/search_permits.php?s_AppNumber=&s_LastName=Branch&DateReceived_start=2021-01-01&DateReceived_end=2021-02-22&s_LocalityCode=141&s_WaterwayCode=&s_Status=&s_LWBCM=&BeachNourishment=0&Boatramp=0&Boatslips=0&BoatHouse=0&Bridge=0&Breakwater=0&Bulkhead=0&BulkheadMaintenance=0&CrabPound=0&ChannelModif=0&OverheadCrossing=0&SubaqueousCrossing=0&ShellfishAquaculture=0&marshtoeStr=0&groinfillStr=0&gabionStr=0&sillfillStr=0&Culvert=0&DredgingNew=0&DredgingMaintenance=0&Groin=0&Jetty=0&Mooring=0&Pier=0&Railway=0&Riprap=0&RiprapMaintenance=0&RoofedStructure=0&Sill=0&livingStr=0&bioStr=0&breakwtrStr=0&coreStr=0&fillplantStr=0

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain a Virginia Water Protection Permit 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.

Preliminary review indicates that:  (l) no environmental impact statement will be required; (2) after conducting the NAO ESA Project Review Process, no listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, 87 Stat. 884), as amended) will be affected.  Based on this “no effect” determination, no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required, the Northern Long Eared Bat may be affected, but the 4(d) key was completed and no further coordination with the Fish and Wildlife Service is required; and (3) no known properties eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places are in or near the permit area, or would likely be affected by the proposal. Additional information might change any of these findings. 

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to robert.a.berg@usace.army.mil, 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 April 12, 2021.

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

Robert Berg at (757) 201-7793 or by email at robert.a.berg@usace.army.mil.