Norfolk District,U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published Jan. 10, 2022
Expiration date: 2/9/2022

January 10, 2022

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

Archer Western c/o David Johnson
13454 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 440
Herndon, Virginia 20171

PROJECT LOCATION:  Along existing Interstate 81 between mile marker 136.6 and mile marker 141.8 (between exits 137 and 141) in Roanoke County and City of Salem, Virginia

PROJECT SIZE:  Adding an additional lane in each direction along 5.2 miles of existing Interstate 81 from south of exit 137 to north of exit 141.

NEAREST WATERWAY: Sawmill Hollow and Mason Creek

LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE: 37.313713, -80.110749

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND PURPOSE:  The applicant proposes to reconstruct and widen existing Interstate 81 between mile marker 136.6 and mile marker 141.8 in Roanoke County and City of Salem, Virginia to address deficiencies of the level of service (LOS) due to traffic volumes exceeding the current roadway capacity and improve operational safety within the project corridor between exits 137 and 141. The project proposes to add a third travel lane on Southbound and Northbound I-81 from south of exit 137 to north of exit 141, spanning approximately 5.2 miles. In addition to adding travel lanes, the project also proposes ramp improvements at exit 137, replacing two bridges over Wildwood Road (Route 112), two bridges over Goodwin Avenue (Route 635), two bridges over Wildwood Road (Route 619), and widening two bridges at Thompson Memorial Drive (Route 311); as well as storm drains, stormwater management facilities and sound walls. The proposed typical section for the roadway improvements would consist of a 36 foot pavement width (three 12 foot lanes), an 8 foot median shoulder for areas with no guardrail or barrier and a 12 foot median shoulder in areas with a guardrail or barrier. Currently, I-81 is being widened up to the northern termini of the proposed project where it will tie into this proposed project.

The proposed work would permanently impact 1,099 linear feet of streams and permanently impact 11,153 square feet (0.26 acre) of wetlands with impacts to forested, scrub/shrub and emergent wetlands resulting from the proposed work.

Excess cut material from the proposed road construction will be disposed of at an existing brick mine located nearby with no impacts to aquatic resources.

AVOIDANCE AND MINIMIZATION:  The applicant reduced impacts to perennial and intermittent streams at 7 locations by use of retaining walls to reduce the roadway fill footprint. 

The applicant reduced cut and fill slopes project wide to reduced lateral encroachment into jurisdictional areas. The applicant also widened into the median to the maximum extent practicable. 

All these actions resulted in a reduction of impacts to wetlands by 1,000 square feet and stream impacts by 1,158 linear feet.

COMPENSATORY MITIGATION: The applicant will mitigate the wetland impacts by purchasing 0.38 acres of wetland mitigation bank credits and 966 stream credits from a stream mitigation bank.

In addition, the applicant must obtain an Individual Section 401 Water Quality Certification or waiver from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) assuring that applicable laws and regulations pertaining to water quality are not violated.   

A copy of the joint permit application can be found on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s website: 

(  )        Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).
(X)      Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act (Public Law 95-217) and Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.
(  )        Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972 (33 U.S.C. 1413).

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 (EIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Preliminary review of the application indicates that no EIS will be required.

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.

ENDANGERED SPECIES: after conducting the Norfolk District Endangered Species Act (ESA) Project Review Process, the Corps has made the preliminary determination that:
The Northern long-eared bat may be affected, but the FWS Information and Planning and Consultation (IPaC) 4(d) determination key was completed and no further coordination with the FWS is required.

There may be an effect to listed/proposed/candidate species and/or designated/proposed critical habitat under the ESA of 1973. The IPaC Official Species List and Species Conclusion Table are attached for review and comment by the FWS and the NMFS.

Additional information might change any of these findings.

No known Historic Resources eligible for inclusion or included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) are in or near the Corps permit area or would likely be affected by the proposal.

Additional information may change any of these findings.

ESSENTIAL FISH HABITAT: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended by the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-267), requires all Federal agencies to consult with the NMFS on all actions, or proposed actions, permitted, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect Essential Fish Habitat (EFH).

There is no EFH in the Corps area of responsibility for this project.

VIRGINIA’S COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM: For compliance with the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended for projects located in Virginia’s Coastal Zone, 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’s Coastal Zone Management Program (Virginia CZM Program), and obtain concurrence from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Office of Environmental Impact Review (OEIR). It is the applicant’s responsibility to submit a consistency certification to the OEIR 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 in the Federal Consistency Manual here: . For more information or to obtain a list of the enforceable policies of the Virginia CZM Program, contact the DEQ-OEIR at (804) 698-4204 or e-mail:

No concurrence is required because the project is not located within Virginia’s Coastal Zone.

VIRGINIA’S SECTION 401 WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM: The applicant must obtain, from the Virginia DEQ, a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification for any federal license or permit that authorizes an activity that may result in a discharge into waters of the U.S. (40 CFR Part 121).  As the Certifying Authority, the Virginia DEQ may grant, grant with conditions, or deny a certification request.  Alternatively, the Virginia DEQ may waive, expressly or implicitly, its authority to act on a certification request.  In either case, a written notice of waiver from DEQ (expressly waived) or from the Corps (implicitly waived), satisfies the project proponent’s requirement to obtain certification.

COMMENT PERIOD:  Comments on this project should be in writing and can be sent by either email to, or by regular mail, addressed to the Norfolk District, Corps of Engineers (ATTN:  CENAO-WRR), 803 Front Street, Norfolk, VA  23510-1011, and should be received by the close of business on February 9, 2022.

PRIVACY AND 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