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Frequently Asked Questions

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General Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Questions

What is an EIS?

EIS stands for Environmental Impact Statement. An EIS is a document that evaluates the potential community and environmental impacts of major federal actions (such as a new highway) in a defined study area. It was necessary the West Davis Corridor (WDC) Study complied with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which required extensive public input and disclosure. To begin extensive design work or start construction, the EIS needed to be complete. Now that the process is complete, the lead federal agency, which in this case is the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), selected an alternative in the Record of Decision (ROD).

Who is in charge of the West Davis Corridor Study, and who makes the final decision?

FHWA and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) are the lead agencies for the WDC EIS. FHWA is the lead federal agency and made the final decision. UDOT coordinated with local FHWA representatives at every step of the process. FHWA relied on the information in the EIS to make the final decision.

What other agencies and groups are FHWA and UDOT coordinating with?

FHWA and UDOT consulted and coordinated with local businesses, civic groups, individuals, municipalities and resource agencies. Some resource agencies had a regulatory role in the environmental process and were considered cooperating agencies. A Stakeholder Working Group, which includes the above agencies and several non-governmental organizations, and Resident Working Groups met regularly to collaborate with the WDC team. Lists of the organizations that were involved are available on the Study Coordination page.

Why study western Davis and Weber counties?

Preliminary studies indicated that transportation needs in western Davis and Weber counties will exceed available capacity by the year 2040. The EIS evaluated various alternatives to meet the growing need. The WDC study area extended from the Great Salt Lake on the west to I-15 on the east and from Parrish Lane in Centerville on the south to 4000 South in Weber County on the north. The study area was approximately 22 miles from north to south.

Where will the new road be?

UDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) chose Alternative “B1 with Wetland Avoidance Options” as the preferred alternative. This alternative consists of the Glovers alignment in the south, Alternative B in Syracuse, and the 4100 West northern option. To see a map of the alternative click here.

Will there be a trail next to the road?

A new trail will be constructed parallel to the corridor for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail will connect to the Legacy Parkway Trail in Farmington and extend north for 11 miles to the Emigration Trail in Syracuse. Another segment of trail will connect to the north end of the Emigration Trail and run along 4500 West to connect to the Weber County trail network. These new segments will complete a 38-mile route for bike commuters from Hooper to Salt Lake City.

Is there a transit component of the WDC project?

UDOT and FHWA evaluated many transit alternatives as part of the alternatives development and screening process. None were able to meet the purpose and need of the project. However, park-and-ride lots will be built at several interchanges as part of the project.

Does the study take other area projects into consideration?

Yes. The WDC team accounted for projects identified in the long-range plan and all current UDOT projects in the area. The WDC team has also consulted and coordinated with each of the study area cities to understand the local projects under construction or planned for development.

Do you study environmental impacts?

Yes. The purpose of the environmental process was to study the potential impacts of each of the alternatives on the community and environment. Impacts studied include, but are not limited to, wetlands, wildlife habitat, farmlands, air quality, water quality, historic resources, structures and the local economy and communities.

Is the West Davis Corridor the same as North Legacy? Why was the name changed?

The West Davis Corridor has been referred to in past studies as North Legacy. There has also been much past discussion about an extension of Legacy Parkway. To allow the study to have been conducted objectively, with an open approach to various alternatives, it was given the name West Davis Corridor.

When will the project be built?

Now that Alternative B1 has been approved in the Record of Decision, construction of the project will begin in 2020. The Utah Transportation Commission recently approved $610 million of funding for construction of the first phase of the corridor, which will begin in Farmington at I-15 near Glovers Lane and extend just beyond Antelope Drive in Syracuse. The second phase of construction will extend the corridor to 1800 North in West Point. The construction limits could change based on final funding and construction cost. The full project cost is estimated to be $725 million.

Final EIS

What is a Final EIS?

The Final Environmental Impact Statement, or Final EIS, is 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 Final 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 West Davis Corridor project. It also identified UDOT and FHWA’s Preferred Alternative so that the public could provide feedback on that recommendation. The Final EIS was available for public review and comment from July 6, 2017 to August 31, 2017.

Where can I read the Final EIS?

All chapters of the Final EIS are available for download on the Documentation page of the study website. Single hard copies are also available for viewing at various libraries and cities throughout the study area. A list of these locations is also available on the Documentation page of the project website.

Draft EIS

What is a Draft EIS?

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 described the purpose and need, a description of the alternatives development and screening process, and detailed impact information for the alternatives evaluated for the West Davis Corridor project. It also identified UDOT’s Preferred Alternative so that the public could provide feedback on that recommendation. The Draft EIS was available for public review and comment from May 16, 2013 to September 6, 2013.

Where can I read the Draft EIS?

All chapters of the Draft EIS are available for download on the Documentation page of the project website. Single hard copies are also available at various libraries and cities throughout the study area. A list of these locations is also available on the Documentation page of the project website.

Public Comment Period

What is an official public comment period?

As part of the WDC EIS process UDOT has invited public input at every step of the process to ensure all input about the project were considered. Comment periods were designated time frames during the study when comments from the public were received, reviewed/considered, and documented as part of the administrative record. There have been seven public comment periods during this study including scoping, purpose and need, alternative development and screening methodology development, alternative development, alternative screening process results, Draft EIS, and Final EIS.

How will my comment be responded to?

Comments provided during the FEIS comment period will be included in the overall study record and will be responded to through the Record of Decision by FHWA.

Is the public comment period a vote?

No, the public comment period is not a vote. All submitted comments will be evaluated based on their merits, regardless of how they were submitted. There is no need to submit your comment more than once as all comments will be carefully considered.

Will there be a comment period for the Final EIS or Record of Decision?

A public comment period followed the release of the Final EIS. The public was invited to review the contents of the Final EIS and provide comments through the website, via email, or by mail. Comments that were submitted during the Final EIS comment period were included in the overall study record and were considered in preparation of the Record of Decision by FHWA. There was not a comment period that followed the Record of Decision.

What is a public hearing?

At the release of the Draft EIS, public hearings were held. These public hearings gave the public the opportunity to verbally express their comments on the Draft EIS to project leaders. Attendees at the public hearings signed in and then were called up to a microphone to address project leaders. An official court recorder recorded each comment made during the public hearing. Each person was allotted three minutes to make their comment. Although comments and questions were not addressed by the project team during the public hearings, they will be addressed in the Final EIS. A schedule of the past open house and public hearing events is available on the Public Meetings page of the study website.

UDOT's Preferred Alternative

What is the Preferred Alternative?

UDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are recommending Alternative “B1 with Wetland Avoidance Option” as the preferred alternative. This alternative consists of the Glovers alignment in the south, Alternative B in Syracuse, and the 4100 West northern option. To see a map of this alternative click here.

Why was the preferred alternative selected?

The preferred alternative was selected based on a thorough analysis of the transportation benefits and the different impacts, including homes, businesses, farmland, wetlands, costs, etc. Please see Section 2.6 of the Final EIS for a complete review of how the preferred alternative was identified.

Is the preferred alternative identified in the Record of Decision the final decision?

Yes. The preferred alternative was approved through the Record of Decision by FHWA after reviewing the comments received during the Final EIS comment period and based on all the information, input and analysis received and studied since the beginning of the study in 2010.

Property Acquisition / Right of Way

Note: The following information is general in nature, does not discuss specific right-of-way actions relative to any future project and is for illustration of and to answer questions about UDOT processes ONLY.

When will I know if my house is going to be acquired?

An estimate of the direct home impacts (relocations) and potential relocations for the WDC alternatives evaluated in the Final EIS are identified in Appendix 5A of the Final EIS. These relocations and potential relocations are based on the preliminary engineering design used in the Final EIS. Note that a final list of relocations cannot be determined until a final decision is made by FHWA in the Record of Decision, and until final engineering design is completed prior to construction.

How does the state acquire homes?

There is a process that must be followed when homes are acquired for a roadway project. This process is defined in federal and state law, which requires government agencies to provide just compensation for any acquired property. Property acquisition procedures are described in detail on UDOT's website in the Acquisition, Appraisal, and Relocation section. This section of the UDOT website includes brochures on property owner's rights and acquiring property.

How is the value of my property determined?

By law, state agencies must pay "fair market value" for private property. The fair market value is determined by an approved, independent appraiser. The appraiser evaluates the property and researches the area for properties with similar characteristics that have sold recently. The property owner has the right to be present during the appraisal property inspection and can bring to the appraiser's attention any characteristics pertinent to the appraisal.

After the appraisal is complete, the State offers to acquire the property at fair market value, as determined by the appraiser's valuation. Under State law, UDOT's offer must be based on the fair market value and supported by documented justification. The agency will make every effort to reach an agreement with the owner during negotiations. Additional information about the property acquisition process is available on UDOT's website

If UDOT only needs part of my property, how will I be compensated?

In the event a project only impacts a portion of an owner's property, UDOT will pay fair market value for the land and improvements that are impacted. Owners may also receive proximity damages or payment for an easement depending on the property and the appraisal valuation. Proximity damages are only available to those whose property is directly impacted. The property may be purchased in total if determined appropriate on a case-by-case basis.

I rent the home where I live. What happens to me if the property where I live is acquired for the West Davis Corridor project?

Tenants of rental properties may be eligible for relocation benefits. If the property is acquired in advance of the need for the property, the tenant may be allowed to remain in the residence (under lease from the State) until the project begins. Tenants are eligible for relocation assistance only if the Department has asked the tenant to move because of the project.

Before the record of decision, can UDOT buy property?

There are certain scenarios when UDOT can purchase properties prior to the completion of the EIS under the corridor preservation program:

1) A private property owner is experiencing an economic hardship because he/she cannot sell his/her property due to the proposed project.
2) A property in the footprint of one or more project alternatives is about to be developed, which would increase the number of residential or business relocations from the project if that alternative was selected.

These state-funded advance acquisitions are permissible under FHWA right-of-way acquisition and NEPA regulations and do not affect the alternatives analysis or decisions made in the study process.

What is the Corridor Preservation Program?

The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 formally introduced the concept of corridor preservation, requiring states to consider "preservation of rights of way for construction of future transportation projects…and identify those corridors for which action is most needed to prevent destruction or loss." The corridor preservation process was further developed in Utah with the Marda Dillree Corridor Preservation Fund.

What happens to properties that are purchased through the preservation program that are ultimately not needed for the WDC?

Since 2001, UDOT has purchased dozens of properties along several of the proposed alternatives in the WDC through the state Corridor Preservation Program. This is a regular, ongoing process and does not influence the outcome of the EIS. Any properties acquired through corridor preservation that are not ultimately needed to build the WDC can be sold.

Why are building permits still issued in areas where a potential roadway project could go?

It is not within a city's or state's right to deny building permits to developers who meet all requirements and want to develop their land. UDOT works closely with cities and counties during an environmental study process to encourage developers to reserve land for future transportation improvements. In some cases, where the developer is willing, UDOT is able to purchase a portion of the land through advanced acquisition.

If I choose to sell my home now, am I required to disclose that UDOT is studying my area to build a potential roadway project?

Realtors are required to disclose any information that may affect the property to a potential buyer. Individuals should contact an attorney with any questions regarding the responsibility to disclose information about the WDC study.

Indirect and Direct Impacts

Do you consider impacts on the surrounding communities, like air quality and noise?

Yes. We study various impacts to the human and built environment. These include noise, water quality, and air quality. The result of this analysis will be reflected in the Final EIS.

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

Impacts to all of these resources are analyzed in the Final EIS. The WDC team tried to minimize impacts to all of these resources when developing and refining the alternatives. All of the WDC alternatives evaluated in the Final EIS have some impacts to farms, homes, businesses and wetlands. The federal Clean Water Act requires UDOT and FHWA to try to avoid, minimize and mitigate any impacts to wetlands or waters of the U.S. The Utah Agricultural Act also requires UDOT to try to avoid impacts to agricultural protection areas unless there is no reasonable and prudent alternative. Other resources are also protected by similar laws.

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

An estimate of the direct home impacts (relocations) and potential relocations for the WDC alternatives evaluated in the Final EIS are identified in Appendix 5A of the Final EIS. These relocations and potential relocations are based on the preliminary engineering design used in the Final EIS. Note that a final list of relocations cannot be determined until a final decision is made by FHWA 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?

UDOT compensates only for properties that are within the project right of way.

Mitigation

What is wetland and wildlife mitigation?

Throughout the study, the study team has coordinated closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, and The Nature Conservancy, to avoid and minimize impacts to these resources to protect water quality for wildlife and for our Utah citizens.

Though UDOT has avoided and minimized the impacts to wetlands and wildlife habitat, a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be required in order to build the project. Through this permitting process, UDOT will be obligated to mitigate for the impacts of the project by preserving or enhancing existing wetlands or by creating new wetlands. To meet its permit obligations, UDOT is proposing a plan that has identified areas where this mitigation can occur.

Wetland and Wildlife Mitigation Plan

What is UDOT’s proposed mitigation plan?

UDOT is proposing to mitigate for the impacted wetlands and wildlife by purchasing over 1,100 acres of private property, some of which is not directly impacted by the proposed West Davis Corridor. This will allow for preserving, enhancing, and creating wetlands.

If the plan is approved, UDOT would be purchasing property for mitigation over the next couple of years. Affected property owners will be contacted by a UDOT right-of-way agent to discuss the property acquisition process. More information on this process is available on the study website at www.udot.utah.gov/westdavis/faqs.

Wetland and Wildlife Mitigation Plan

2001 Corridor

Why not just follow the 2001 Corridor?

The 2001 WFRC preferred alternative was one of the alternatives considered in the WDC environmental process. In the environmental process UDOT and FHWA must consider all reasonable alternatives. The final selection of a transportation solution is not dictated by where a corridor has been preserved but rather by which alternative does the best job of meeting the transportation need while minimizing impacts. Some parts of the 2001 corridor are still being considered as part of the West Davis Corridor alternatives. If property that was purchased and preserved by Davis County and UDOT based on the 2001 Corridor Study is not used for the WDC, it can be sold or used for different purposes.

Stakeholder Involvement

How much of an impact does my comment have?

Public comments have been very valuable throughout the EIS process in evaluating alternatives and minimizing impacts. FHWA and UDOT have reviewed all comments provided on the Draft EIS and responses to those comments are provided in the Final EIS. Every comment, including those provided during the Final EIS comment period will become part of the administrative record and will be considered in making a final decision.

What influence do special interest groups (environmental groups, farm advocates, neighborhood organizations, HOAs, developers, lobbyists, etc.) have on your decision?

While we appreciate and encourage input from special interest groups, a final decision on an alternative will be based on regional transportation needs and impacts to the human and natural environment, not the individual needs of any special interest group.

How do you incorporate local city master plans into a regional transportation planning effort?

Local city master plans are taken into consideration when developing and studying alternatives and evaluating impacts of those alternatives. Consistency with local land use plans is analyzed in Chapter 3: Land Use of the Final EIS.