Q. What is the purpose of this environmental and location study?
A. This study will evaluate solutions for current and future transportation needs in the study area. The study objectives include improving safety, traffic flow, and continuity on the north/south corridor.
Q. What is an Environmental Study and why is it necessary?
A. This particular environmental study is known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is part of an objective process for deciding what actions, if any, are needed to best serve a community and its transportation needs. Before a major highway project can be constructed, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the completion of an environmental study.
Q. How will my input be used in the process?
A. Study recommendations come from technical analysis combined with public insights and preferences. Solutions are developed that balance community needs with technical and regulatory constraints (such as cost, feasibility and environmental protection).
Q. What project decisions have already been made?
A. No decisions have been made because MoDOT is still working through the evaluation stages of this process. Over the last year we have held four public meetings to gather comments about the study and presented a preliminary range of alternative alignments. That range has been narrowed to a reasonable range of alternatives, which we presented at two public meetings in October.
Q. What response has MoDOT received so far from the public?
A. After the first round of public meetings about 60 percent of the comments suggested expanding at least a portion of the highway to four lanes. Others suggested adding turn lanes or passing lanes in various locations or realigning the highway around communities in the area. After our second round of meetings the public commented that the future Route 63 should use as much of the existing highway as possible and stay close to the communities.
Q. What happens after the October 2007 meetings?
A. Following the October meetings, a more detailed analysis of the reasonable range of alternative alignments will begin and eventually a preferred alternative determined. The preferred alternative can be a combination of various points or highway segments on the east, west, or along the existing Route 63. A public hearing will be held late next summer to share the information gathered and gain input on the preferred alternative.
Q. How can I keep updated on the study?
A. You can learn more about the study by:
· Visiting the project Web site at www.modot.org/central
· Calling 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)
Q. When will construction for this project begin?
A. The environmental and location study will be completed in the fall of 2009. There currently is no funding for construction or acquisition of right of way for any improvements.