FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Payson City are preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the interchange at Main Street (SR-115) and I-15. Learn more below.

Background

What is the Payson Main Street Environmental Impact Statement project?
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Payson City are preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate the interchange at Main Street and I-15. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to prepare an EIS document for major federal actions that may significantly affect the quality of the human environment. An EIS is a full disclosure document and details the process for determining a solution for the current and future transportation problems identified..
Why is the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) being completed?
UDOT and Payson City are conducting this study to evaluate potential transportation-related improvements within the study area to accommodate current and future needs.
What is the study area?
The study area (see map) includes all land located between Dixon Road and I-15 and SR-198 and I-15 from approximately one-half mile north of the Main Street exit to one-half mile south of the exit. Please see our project study area map on the Home tab for an outline of the study area.
What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?
An Environmental Impact Statement or EIS:
  • Provides a full and open evaluation of environmental issues and alternatives to aid decision-making.
  • Informs decision-makers and the public of reasonable alternatives that could meet the project purpose, avoid or minimize adverse impacts and enhance the quality of the environment.
  • Describes the positive and negative environmental effects of alternatives.
What is an alternative?
An alternative is a possible set of improvements that addresses the existing and future conditions that need to be changed.
What are the main steps in the Environmental Impact Statement Process and what do they involve?
  • Scoping - Identify and gather public input regarding items to consider in the environmental study.
  • Purpose and Need - Define a statement of goals and objectives that the study will address (purpose), and identify the existing and future conditions that need to be changed (need).
  • Alternatives Development - Develop alternatives that meet the purpose and need statement.
  • Alternatives Analysis - Screen alternatives based on their potential impacts and how they meet the purpose and need statement; gather public input on the alternatives and the analysis metrics.
  • Analyze Impacts - Compare impacts of screened alternatives.
  • Environmental Resource Analysis - Quantify the effects to the social, economic, and natural environment.
  • Draft EIS - Report findings and obtain public input.
  • Final EIS - Submit document to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  • Record of Decision - FHWA selects an action to take regarding the EIS.
How long will the EIS take to complete?
UDOT began work on the EIS in the fall of 2014 and expects to complete the study by mid-2018.
What is the estimated study timeline?
The Draft EIS was released in Fall 2017. The Final EIS and Record of Decision are expected in Mid 2018.
Once the EIS is complete, when will construction begin?
Currently there is no funding for the construction of the project. The design and construction phases cannot begin until the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined a preferred alternative and issued a Record of Decision (ROD). After the ROD is issued, if funding becomes available through state and/or federal sources, construction could start as early as 2020 following final design and property acquisition.
What is the study budget and how was it funded?
The Utah State Legislature allocated $3 million for the study.
How does this project relate to other local planning efforts and/or planned transportation improvement projects?
The Payson Main Street Interchange project is identified in the Mountainland Association of Governments’ long-range transportation plan, TransPlan40. The solutions being evaluated for the interchange will accommodate future planned improvements identified in TransPlan40, and are consistent with other local planning efforts, such as the Payson City General Plan.

Purpose and Need

What is the purpose of the project? (The Purpose and Need Document is available here .)
The purpose of the project is to:
  • Improve traffic operations in Payson by reducing projected roadway congestion at the Main Street interchange and on Main Street between approximately 900 North and 100 North: Accommodate future travel demand for automobile and freight traffic by improving level of service (LOS) at the interchange and along Main Street compared to the no-action conditions.
  • Improve design deficiencies to meet current roadway design standards: Evaluate options that meet current UDOT and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design standards, thereby improving the functionality and safety of the interchange compared to the no-action conditions.
Why does the interchange at Main Street and I-15 need improvement?
Payson City is projected to experience substantial growth by 2040 with a 166-percent increase in population, a 157-percent increase in jobs, and a 123-percent increase in housing. This growth will cause the following problems at the Main Street interchange and along Main Street if no improvements are made:
  • The existing infrastructure will not be able to adequately serve the projected transportation demands from the rapidly growing population in and around Payson. Traffic conditions for both the northbound and southbound on-ramps and off-ramp intersections are projected to worsen to extremely congested, stop-and-go conditions during peak hours. The current alignment of the interchange intersects Main Street at an angle that does not meet current UDOT or American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards. The interchange can function more efficiently if built to current standards for today's travel patterns and vehicles.

Alternatives Analysis

What is the purpose of the Alternatives Analysis phase of the study?
The Alternatives Analysis phase identifies a reasonable range of alternatives, "including a no-build alternative" (wherein no transportation improvements are made). The project team then evaluates these alternatives based on specific criteria to limit the number of alternatives analyzed in more detail throughout the Draft EIS process and ultimately select a preferred alternative. After a final public review period, the study team will submit a Final EIS with a preferred alternative to the Federal Highway Administration for approval (estimated for mid 2017).
What process will the study team use to evaluate and screen alternatives?
The alternative evaluation process entails two levels of screening. Level 1 compares the alternatives’ ability to meet the project purpose and need using criteria indicating the alternatives’ traffic operations and consistency with design standards. Level 2 screening is more detailed and based on impacts to historic and recreation resources, wetlands, and cost. Additional level 2 screening, if needed, will compare alternatives based on property impacts (i.e., partial acquisitions, full acquisitions/relocations, and loss of or major changes to business access). After the screening process, the remaining alternatives will be thoroughly evaluated in the Draft EIS.
What environmental resources will be analyzed in the EIS?
The study will consider and evaluate impacts to a wide range of environmental resources, including but not limited to the following:
  • Historic Structures
  • Public Parks and Recreation Facilities
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Access
  • Land Use
  • Wetlands
  • Economic Development
  • Potential Construction Impacts
  • Social (e.g., emergency services, neighborhood unity, community character and community revitalization)
  • Commercial and Residential Property Impacts
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Visual Impacts
  • Environmental Justice (the fair treatment of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income)
How will the study consider the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists?
The study will consider pedestrian and bicycle mobility for each alternative. These considerations will include connections to existing and planned bicycle/pedestrian facilities, as well as opportunities to provide pedestrian/bicycle components for each alternative.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

What is a Draft EIS? Where can I read it?

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or Draft EIS, is a draft version of the report required by the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, for particular actions that could significantly affect the quality of the human and natural environment. The Draft EIS describes the purpose and need, a description of the alternatives development and screening process, and detailed impact information for the alternatives evaluated for the I-15 Payson Main Street Interchange.

All chapters of the Draft EIS are available for download on the Draft EIS page. Single hard copies are also available at various locations, including:

  • Payson City Municipal Building (439 W. Utah Ave., Payson, Utah 84651)
  • Payson City Library (66 South Main St., Payson, Utah 84651)
  • UDOT Region Three Office (658 North 1500 West, Orem, Utah 84057)
  • UDOT Central Environmental Office (Calvin L. Rampton Complex, 4501 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84119)
  • Payson EIS Study project office (H.W. Lochner, 3995 South 700 East, Suite 450, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107)
What is the Preferred Alternative, and why was it selected?

UDOT is recommending Alternative C1 – Braided Ramps as the Preferred Alternative. Alternative C1 provides a connection between the Main Street interchange and a new interchange approximately 0.7 miles to the northeast. The new interchange will connect with a new arterial road, Nebo Beltway, connecting I-15 to SR-198. Braided ramps (i.e., ramps that cross over each other) will provide a free-flow connection between the two interchanges. Main Street would be widened to five lanes at the interchange and taper to its current configuration south of 600 North. Main Street would also be realigned to connect to 900 North. To see a map of this alternative, click here.

The preferred alternative was selected based on a thorough analysis of the transportation benefits, design and operational considerations, impacts to key resources, costs, input from the public and agencies, and regulatory requirements. Alternative C1 was selected as the Preferred Alternative because it would have the lowest average daily vehicle delay and combines the benefits of two interchanges- one at Main Street and one at the proposed Nebo Beltway- connected by free-flowing/continuous ramps. It would also avoid historic properties protected under Section 4(f). Alternative C1 was also supported by the community. Please see Chapter 2 of the Draft EIS for a complete review of how the preferred alternative was identified.

Is the preferred alternative identified in the Draft EIS the final decision?

The preferred alternative is the alternative recommended by UDOT based on all the information, input and analysis received and studied since the beginning of the study in 2014. The project team will review comments received during the Draft EIS comment period, and each comment will be responded to in the Final EIS. It is possible that comments on the Draft EIS could lead to changes to the Preferred Alternative, if warranted by new information provided to the project team. After the Final EIS is published, the final decision will be made by UDOT at the completion of the study through the Record of Decision.

Are farms, homes, historic properties, businesses and wetlands all equally considered? How are they protected?

Impacts to all of these resources are analyzed in the Draft EIS. UDOT tried to minimize impacts to all of these resources when developing and refining the alternatives. All of the alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIS have some impacts to farms, homes, businesses and wetlands. The federal Clean Water Act requires UDOT to try to avoid, minimize and mitigate any impacts to wetlands and waters of the U.S. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act require UDOT to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to historic properties on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Other resources are also protected by similar laws.

Which homes or businesses will be directly impacted (i.e., relocated)? When will we know?

An estimate of the direct home impacts (relocations) and potential relocations for the Payson I-15 Interchange alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIS are identified in Chapter 3. These relocations and potential relocations are based on the preliminary engineering design used in the Draft EIS. A final list of relocations cannot be determined until a final decision is made by UDOT in the Record of Decision, and until final engineering design is completed prior to construction.

Will we receive compensation if our home is not purchased but our property value decreases?

Federal and state law requires UDOT to compensate landowners for property purchased by the project and provide relocation assistance for property owners displaced by the project.

What is an official public comment period?

An official public comment period is a designated time during the study when comments from the public are received and documented as part of the project record. There have been two public comment periods so far during this study: one during the Scoping phase, and another during the Alternatives Development Stage. A third public comment period will continue for 45 days after the release of the Draft EIS. Official public comments received during the Draft EIS will be addressed in the Final EIS.

How do I make a comment on the Draft EIS?

Public comments on the draft EIS are no longer being accepted. A 45-day public comment period was provided following the release of the Draft EIS. During this time, the public was encouraged to review the contents of the Draft EIS and provide comments through the website, via email, or by mail. These comments will be included in the overall study record and will be considered in preparation of the Final EIS.

How will my comment be responded to?

These comments will be included in the overall study record. Each comment received on the Draft EIS will be responded to in the Final EIS.

Is the public comment period a vote?

No, the public comment period is not a vote. Public comments are designed to allow the public to provide feedback on the study, and specifically to provide input or additional information to assist the project team in identifying the best transportation solution. All submitted comments will be considered equally, regardless of how they were submitted. There is no need to submit your comment more than once as all comments will be carefully considered.

What is a public hearing?

During the 45-day comment period following the release of the Draft EIS, a public hearing was held to give the public the opportunity to verbally express their comments on the Draft EIS to project leaders. Attendees to the public hearings who wished to do so could sign in and then be called up to a microphone to share their comments with the project team. Each person was allotted three minutes to make their comment, and a professional court reporter recorded each comment made during the public hearing. These public comments will then be responded to in the Final EIS.

I-15 Payson Main Street Interchange – Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Public Hearing
Thursday, October 26
6 to 9 p.m.
Payson High School
1050 South Main Street

Final EIS

What is an FEIS?
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), is the final version of the report required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for particular actions that could significantly affect the quality of the human and natural environment. The FEIS describes the purpose and need, the alternatives development and screening process, evaluates impacts and benefits for the alternatives evaluated in detail, and identifies a Preferred Alternative. It also considers, responds to, and makes any necessary revisions resulting from comments received from members of the public and regulatory agencies on the Draft EIS, which was released in September 2017.
How do I read the FEIS?
All chapters of the FEIS are available for download on the Final EIS page (click here). Single hard copies are also available for review at various locations, including:
  • Payson City Municipal Building (439 W. Utah Ave., Payson, Utah 84651)
  • Payson City Library (66 South Main St., Payson, Utah 84651)
  • UDOT Region Three Office (658 North 1500 West, Orem, Utah 84057)
  • UDOT Central Environmental Office (Calvin L. Rampton Complex, 4501 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84119)
  • Payson EIS Study project office (H.W. Lochner, 3995 South 700 East, Suite 450, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107)
How can I comment on the FEIS?

There is an official 30-day comment period following the publication if the FEIS. The comment period runs from November 30 to December 31, 2018. Comments may be submitted via email to paysoneis@utah.gov or by mail to Payson EIS Team, 3995 South 700 East, Suite 450, Salt Lake City, Utah 84107.

What happens after the 30-day public comment period?
After the 30-day comment period, UDOT will consider and respond to comments received from members of the public and regulatory agencies. UDOT will then prepare a Record of Decision, which is final step in the EIS process. A Record of Decision is expected in mid-2019.

Public Input

Why is UDOT asking for public input?
The EIS is designed to be an open, public process. Public input is important to the study process to help UDOT:
  • Refine the purpose and need.
  • Identify additional transportation and environmental considerations within the study area.
  • Identify and refine the improvement alternatives.
How often will UDOT involve the public in the study process?
  • Public input is always welcome through the study website, hotline and email address.
  • UDOT specifically requests input during the scoping, alternatives analysis and draft EIS phases of the study. These phases each include a public open house in Payson City. The scoping open house was held Thursday, March 19, 2015; the alternative analysis open house was held Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015 (an open house summary report is available here), and the draft EIS open house is anticipated for early 2017. In addition, the project team is carrying out regular stakeholder meetings, city council updates, newsletters, and email stakeholder updates.
What will UDOT do with my input?

Comments provided to the project team during formal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) comment periods (i.e., scoping and public review of the NEPA document) will be reviewed and considered by UDOT as it develops the project. UDOT will provide an acknowledgement that your comment has been received. The study team will contact you if they need additional information or clarification. UDOT’s responses to comments made during the formal Draft EIS comment period will be included in the Final EIS.

Comments provided during the NEPA process to UDOT are a matter of public record and subject to public release, if requested. For more information, see the Terms of Use at the bottom of the Utah.gov website.

Comments provided outside of the formal NEPA comment periods are considered informal and are used for informational purposes to help the project team identify potential resources and understand potential concerns that are important to stakeholders.

Comments that are publicly displayed through online tools must follow our UDOT Social Media Policy Participant Code of Conduct. Comments that are unacceptable under that policy may be removed at the administrator's discretion.

How can I learn more about the study and provide input if I can't make it to the public meetings?
All information from public meetings will also be available online. If you have any questions or difficulty locating information, please contact us and we'll assist you.