US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

NAO-2021-00197/21-V0257

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published March 25, 2021
Expiration date: 4/26/2021

FEDERAL PUBLIC NOTICE

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

APPLICANT
Bizzack Construction, LLC

WATERWAY AND LOCATION OF THE PROPOSED WORK:  The project is located in the Levisa Fork River and tributary streams, near Grundy, Virginia.

PROPOSED WORK AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to construct 1.78 miles of new roadway, dually designated U.S. Highway 121/460-Poplar Creek Phase B.  The road will consist of 2 lanes with truck climbing lanes where necessary.  The project is proposed to extend from the east end of the dually designated U.S. 121/460 Poplar Creek Phase A Section, near State Route 604 (Poplar Creek Road), that is currently under construction to U.S. Route 460 near Grundy, VA.  Due to the mountainous terrain, road construction will require removal of a large amount of material to establish a suitable road alignment in the terrain.  Some of this material will be utilized as road fill but a large amount of excess fill material will require disposal.  This excess material will be disposed of in a valley resulting in stream impacts and utilize an existing disposal site permitted as part of the Phase A construction.

The Purpose and Need is to improve system linkage, intermodal connection, roadway deficiencies, corridor mobility, safety, capacity and economic development opportunities.

The proposed work will permanently impact 1,130 linear feet of intermittent streams and 2,790 linear feet of perennial streams.  The Levisa Fork River will be crossed with a bridge.  No permanent structures or fill will be placed in the river. Temporary impacts to 4,290 square feet of the Levisa Fork River bottom will occur along the eastern shoreline to allow for construction of a work bridge and causeway to aid in construction of the bridge.  The temporary work bridge might encroach up to 50% of the waterway width. 

Permanent impacts to streams will be mitigated by purchasing 4,292 credits from Dry Fork Mitigation Bank which is an approved stream mitigation bank in the watershed or from Mabrey’s Meadow Mitigation Bank which is currently undergoing review by the approving agencies.  There are no wetland impacts resulting from this proposal.

The applicant has avoided and minimized impacts to streams by consolidating the placement of excess excavated material into two disposal areas.  One disposal area is being used for previously permitted Phase A and its impacts have already been permitted and mitigated.  The other disposal area will allow for more excess material to be disposed of per linear foot of stream impact than other potential disposal sites that were examined.  This reduces the linear footage of stream impacts that are required for disposal of the excess material.  The applicant will utilize rock core drains to divert drainage from undisturbed areas in the vicinity of the roadway.  In doing this, the size of stormwater management ponds that are required for treatment of runoff are reduced which therefore reduces potential stream impacts.  The applicant reduced the roadway footprint from 4 lanes to 2 lanes with truck climbing lanes where necessary, using steeper grades to reduce excavation volumes and associated waste disposal volumes and relocate the planned crossing of the Levisa Fork River south to reduce excavation along existing Route 460 west of Grundy. 

The Joint Permit Application and its associated attachments can be found on the VMRC Applications website under Additional Docs (the permit application can be found in 7 parts due to its large size):  JPA 21-0257 at: https://webapps.mrc.virginia.gov/public/habitat/additionaldocs.php?id=20210257

In addition to the required Department of the Army permit, the applicant must obtain Virginia Water Protection Permit/401 certification from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.  Project drawings are attached.

AUTHORITY:  Permits are required pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403), 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:  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead Federal agency. (l) The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) initiated and finalized an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) concerning U.S. 121 on September 12, 2001.  The Final EIS (FEIS) evaluated several alternative locations for the placement of U.S. 121. The preferred alternative in the FEIS was identified as Alternative F1. Alternative F1 includes Section I, II, IIIA and IIIB, U.S. 460 (Corridor Q) and 121 overlaps in Sections IIIA (Hawks Nest) and IIIB (Poplar Creek).  The Record of Decision (ROD) recognized that the project would be designated and considered in numerous phases.  On August 4, 2014, an Environmental Studies document was prepared by VDOT for U.S. 121 Section IIIB to address modifications to the corridor location that was established originally in the 2001 FEIS and ROD. The selected alternative identified in the ROD was Alternative F1. The proposed realigned corridor was referred to in the Environmental Studies document as Alternative F1 Modified. The revisions to Section IIIB resulted in a somewhat straighter alignment and provided for a connector to existing U.S. 460 at Grundy, with the Poplar Creek Section IIIB dually designated as U.S. 121/460. Consequently, Alternative F1 Modified extended approximately 13.7 miles as compared to the 15.1 miles of the original Alternative F1 Section IIIB.  FHWA concluded on July 20, 2015 that no new significant environmental impacts were associated with Alternative F1 Modified within the Corridor Q/Section IIIB Overlap.  Further FHWA approved the location of Alternative F1 Modified within the Corridor Q/Section IIIB Overlap and indicated that the project could proceed to subsequent development. (2) The applicant searched the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service IPAC system and found potential for the Big Sandy Crayfish, Northern long-eared bat, Gray bat, Indiana bat, and the Virginia big-eared bat.  A survey was conducted for the Big Sandy Crayfish and none were found.  The applicant has made a not likely to adversely affect determination for the bat species based on the fact that no caves will be impacted by the proposed work and (3) An archaeological and historic resources survey was conducted in the project area and 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.    

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 26, 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.

Attachment: Drawing