Highway 130 Field Studies to Begin in July: Environmental Assesment Process Begins

Here is a Keaau Pahoa Highway 130 Advisory Group newsletter I just received:

The Hawaii DOT (HDOT) is in the process of initiating an Environmental Assessment (EA) for Keaau-Pahoa Road. The EA is required by federal law (the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA) and state law (Chapter 343 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes). Theproject cannot proceed into final design or have land acquisition or construction prior to successful completion of the EA process. The purpose of the EA is to consider the impacts of the proposed alternati ves on the social,
economic, physical, and natural environment. Mitigative measures will be proposed to address adverse impacts.

The alternatives in the EA will include:

• A “No-build” alternative, which includes only projects that are already planned and funded. This alternative will be used as a “base case” for analysis.
• A Transportation Systems Management (TSM) alternative will provide another measure for comparison as it considers low-cost and low-impact improvements that could be implemented easily with minimal levels of construction.
• Three “Build” alternatives would improve the roadway with a combination of different cross-sections (six lanes, four lanes, and two lanes) in various segments of the corridor.

The “Build” alternatives will consider bike lanes, bus pull-outs, shoulders, and median treatments. The “Build” alternatives will incorporate designs that contain Context Sensitive Solutions, in an
effort to make the future roadway as compatible as possible with the surrounding communities. The EA will study measures to improve safety by managing traffic in these build alternatives, such as signalization, roundabouts, consolidating access points, etc.

The EA will look at a wide range of issues, including land use, socioeconomic issues, air quality, biological resources, surface water, groundwater, geology, noise, archaeological resources, historic
properties, cultural practices, parklands, aesthetics, traffic, utility relocations, and hazardous materials.

A Final EA/Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is expected to be completed by March 2010. The public will be provided with opportunities to provide comment on the project throughout the Environmental Assessment process.

Assisting the planners and designers at SSFM are a number of subconsultants that offer specialized expertise in their fields. These include:

• AECOS, Inc. – aquatic resources and surface water quality
• B. D. Neal and Associates – air quality impacts
• CMF Engineers – drainage study
• Cultural Surveys Hawaii – archaeological resources
and cultural impact assessment
• D. L. Adams and Associates – noise impacts
• Earthplan – socio-economic impacts
• Geometrician Associates – botanical resources
• MK Engineers – utility relocations and electrical design considerations
• Rana Biological Consulting – wildlife documenting, especially threatened or endangered species
• Roger Dyar – Traffic and intersections

The field work for these studies will be started in July of 2009. So keep a look out as you travel along Highway 130.

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