Environmental

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About

FHWA issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lane Study EIS on March 16, 2018. For purposes of initiating the scoping process, the NOI identified the study limits as I-495 from south of the American Legion Bridge in Fairfax County, Virginia, to east of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Prince George’s County, Maryland; and I-270 from I-495 to I-370 in Montgomery County, Maryland, including the east and west I-270 spurs north of I-495. These study limits remain valid and provide a broad description of the study’s extent.

However, since issuance of the NOI, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has gathered additional traffic data during project scoping and alternatives development.  This data has led to a refinement of the study limits identified in the NOI to specific cross roads where major traffic generation occurs. Additionally, the rational endpoints for the environmental review have been extended beyond these cross roads to account for the distance needed to tie the mainline improvements into the existing roadway lanes. The three logical termini for the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lane Study are:

  • Western Limit on I-495: south of George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Southern Limit on I-495: west of MD 5
  • Northern Limit on I-270: north of I-370

The I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study is evaluating alternatives to accommodate existing and future traffic, improve trip reliability, expand travel options, accommodate homeland security, and improve the movement of goods and services.

The study will follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and will result in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It will document the project scoping process; purpose and need development; alternative screening and analysis; traffic and environmental analyses; and public and agency involvement. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will serve as the lead federal agency for the EIS with MDOT SHA serving as the local project sponsor and joint lead agency. The study is expected to be completed by Fall 2020.

Program Overview Map

Notice of Intent

Federal Highway Administration has issued the Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study. The NOI officially begins the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process. The purpose of this notice is to: (1) alert interested parties to the FHWA and MDOT SHA plan to prepare the EIS; (2) provide information on the nature of the proposed action; (3) solicit public and agency input regarding the scope of the EIS, including the purpose and need, alternatives to be considered, and impacts to be evaluated; and (4) announce that public and agency scoping meetings will be conducted. The NOI in the Federal Register is available here.

Study Timeline

  • Notice of Intent to
    Initiate NEPA Study

    Scoping Open Houses 45-day Comment Period
  • Range of Alternatives

    Define Purpose & Need

    Develop Preliminary Range of Alternatives

    Screening Criteria

    Public Workshop

  • Alternatives Analysis & Environmental Technical Analysis

    Select Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study (ARDS)

    Complete Technical Analysis of ARDS

    Public Workshop

  • Development of Environmental Impact Statement

    Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

    Identify MDOT SHA’s Preferred Alternative

    DEIS Public Hearing

  • Combined Final EIS/ROD

    Final EIS/Record of Decision

What is NEPA?

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is a federal environmental law that established processes to evaluate the needs and benefits of a federal action and the potential environmental impacts arising from the action. The law requires development of a reasonable range of project alternatives that can accomplish the purpose and need, and consideration of potential impacts to socioeconomic, cultural, and natural resources from the alternatives being considered. Key to this process is coordination among federal, state, and local agencies, and communication with the public, and other project stakeholders.

Due to the potential for significant environmental impacts, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be developed for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study. An EIS is the most detailed and rigorous level of NEPA study and concludes with a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project.