Beyond MoCo: FHA Approves MDTA’s Recommendation to Move Forward With New Chesapeake Bay Crossing

by MCS Staff
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Following analysis of transportation and environmental conditions presented in the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), comments received from the public, and concurrence from resource and regulatory agencies, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has approved the Bay Crossing Study: Tier 1 NEPA combined Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD). The combined FEIS/ROD was approved on April 14, 2022 and formally identifies Corridor 7 – the corridor containing the existing Bay Bridge – as the Selected Corridor Alternative.

The Tier 1 combined FEIS/ROD has been prepared pursuant to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations at 40 CFR 1500 – 1508. The combined FEIS/ROD focuses on updates to the February 2021 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that was available for review and comment from February 23 through May 17, 2021. The FEIS provides summaries of the more than 850 agency and public comments received and responds to substantive comments. The FEIS/ROD also provides additional information concerning the analysis of corridor alternatives and anticipated environmental effects based on public and agency input. In consideration of this information and the project record, FHWA and MDTA identified Corridor 7 as the Selected Corridor Alternative that best meets the Tier 1 NEPA Study Purpose and Need.

The approval of the FEIS/ROD marks completion of the Tier 1 NEPA Study. A potential future Tier 2 NEPA Study could be initiated should funding become available. A Tier 2 NEPA Study would evaluate a no-build alternative and identify specific alignment alternatives within the two-mile-wide Selected Corridor Alternative identified during the Tier 1 NEPA Study (Corridor 7). Completion of the Tier 1 NEPA Study does not presume the initiation of a Tier 2 NEPA Study since no funding has been identified.

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