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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. The West Davis Corridor (WDC) Study must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires extensive public input and disclosure. This document must be complete before a project can be designed or built. At the completion of the process, the lead federal agency, which in this case is the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), selects an alternative in a 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 will make the final decision. UDOT is coordinating with local FHWA representatives at every step of the process. FHWA will rely 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 are consulting and coordinating with local businesses, civic groups, individuals, municipalities and resource agencies. Some resource agencies have a regulatory role in the environmental process and are considered cooperating agencies. A Stakeholder Working Group, which includes the above agencies and several non-governmental organizations, and Resident Working Groups meet regularly to collaborate with the WDC team. Lists of the organizations involved are available on the Study Coordination page.
Why study western Davis and Weber counties?
Preliminary studies indicate that transportation needs in western Davis and Weber counties will exceed available capacity by the year 2040. The EIS evaluates various alternatives to meet the growing need. The WDC study area extends 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 is approximately 22 miles from north to south.
Where will the new road be?
No final decision has been made yet regarding the location of the corridor. The Maps page shows the alternatives analyzed in the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS and Alternatives Screening Report also describe the alternatives that were previously considered and eliminated. The "no action" alternative is also considered throughout the process.
Will there be a trail next to the road?
The WDC action alternatives all propose a new trail between Weaver Lane in Kaysville and Gentile Street in Syracuse. Other trail improvements that could be implemented with local government support and funding are also being evaluated. A map of the proposed trail improvements can be found on the Maps page of the project website.
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 are proposed for all of the WDC action alternatives.
Does the study take other area projects into consideration?
Yes. The WDC team accounts 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 is 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.
How were the Draft EIS alternative cost estimates calculated?
The methodology that was used to estimate the costs for the alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIS is described in Technical Memorandum 20: Cost Estimates for WDC Alternatives in the Draft EIS. This technical memorandum is available on the Documentation page.
What are VMT and Mode Share?
VMT stands for vehicle-miles traveled. The WDC team calculated the 2040 daily VMT in congestion for all of the alternatives as part of the Level 1 Screening analysis. The 2040 daily VMT shows how many miles are estimated to be traveled by motor vehicles in the study area in 2040, based on the travel demand model.
Mode share refers to the percentage of trips in the WDC study area that are taken by different transportation modes. The WDC team looked at four modes: car trips, transit trips, pedestrian trips and bicycle trips.
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 this study to be conducted objectively, with an open approach to various alternatives, it was given the name West Davis Corridor.
When will the project be built?
We do not know at this time. Nothing can be built prior to the conclusion of the environmental process. After the completion of the environmental process, if an action alternative is selected by FHWA in the Record of Decision, UDOT and FHWA would need to find funding before design and construction would proceed. This process can take several years.
How can I be involved in the study?
Public comment periods occur throughout the environmental study process. Visit this website regularly for updated information or sign up for regular email updates by sending a request to email@example.com. You can also fill out a comment form at any time via the Get Involved page. If you would like to speak with a member of the study team, please call 877-298-1991.
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 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. The Draft EIS is available to public review and comment on the Documentation page of the study website and in hard copy form at various locations throughout Davis and Weber counties. For a list of these locations, please visit the Documentation page of the project website.
Where can I read the Draft EIS?
Public Comment Period
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 administrative record. There have been three public comment periods during this study: one during the Scoping phase, another during the Alternatives Development Stage, and a third 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 an official comment on the Draft EIS?
The official comment periods have ended and all comments received will be responded to in the Final EIS.
How will my comment be responded to?
All comments that were submitted during the official comment periods will be addressed in the Final EIS.
Is the public comment period a vote?
No, the public comment period is not a vote. 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.
Will there be a comment period for the final EIS or record of decision?
After the release of the Final EIS there is a 30-day wait period which does allow the public to provide comments on the final EIS and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) preferred alternative. These comments will be part of the overall project record and will be considered in preparation for the record of decision by FHWA.
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 Locally Preferred Alternative
What is the locally preferred alternative?
The locally preferred alternative identified in the Draft EIS is Alternative B1. Alternative B1 includes the Glovers Lane option in Farmington, the eastern alignment in the Syracuse area (closer to Bluff Road), and the 4100 West option in West Point.
Why was the locally preferred alternative selected?
The locally preferred alternative was selected based on a thorough analysis of the transportation benefits and the different impacts, including homes, businesses, farmland, wetlands, costs, etc. Alternative B1 was identified by UDOT as the least overall impactful alternative based on those and many other factors. Please see Sections 2.3 and 2.4 of the Draft EIS for a complete review of how the local preferred alternative was identified.
Is the locally preferred alternative the final decision?
No. The locally 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 2010. FHWA and UDOT will continue to receive information and analyze data as the study process moves forward, and changes to the alternatives can still occur. A final decision on an alternative will be made by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the completion of the study.
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?
The DEIS identifies potential home relocations for each alternative under consideration. The final alternative will not be selected until the Final EIS is complete and a Record of Decision is issued. The Final EIS will identify which properties will need to be acquired for the final preferred alternative. At that time, property acquisition may begin if funding is available. In some cases, properties may be eligible for purchase prior to the final decision through the State Corridor Preservation Program. Click here for more information about this program.
How does the state acquire homes?
There is a process that must be followed when land is 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 at www.udot.utah.gov (Home — Inside UDOT — Project Development — Right of Way). 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 also researches the area for homes 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. The owner may provide additional information, and make reasonable counter offers and proposals for the agency to consider. Additional information about the property acquisition process is available on UDOT's website at www.udot.utah.gov (Home — Inside UDOT — Project Development — Right of Way).
What if I do not accept UDOT's offer for my property?
On scheduled projects, if a private property owner does not accept the State's offer, the State will file an eminent domain law action in a State District Court. In the eminent domain action, the court will determine the fair market value of the property, after considering evidence submitted by both parties.
If the State begins an eminent domain action, an individual should consult with an attorney about legal rights. The Utah Property Rights Ombudsman is also available for advice.
If UDOT only needs part of my property, will I have to live next to a freeway or sound wall? 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 actually 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.
What assistance will I receive if I am relocated?
The State has a relocation assistance program that provides benefits for all those who are displaced by a roadway or transit project (including residents, businesses, non-profit organizations, and farmers).
As part of this program, the State provides assistance in identifying replacement property. Replacement property must be comparable to the property that is being acquired, and also must be decent, safe, and sanitary.
In addition, as part of the relocation assistance program, the State pays for eligible relocation costs. Relocation costs include moving costs (packing, storage, shipping, etc.) as well as other costs associated with the relocation. The relocation payment is separate from the payment for the fair market value of the property itself. Additional information about relocation assistance is available on UDOT's website at www.udot.utah.gov (Home — Inside UDOT — Project Development — Right of Way).
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 NEPA process. Click here for more information about this program.
I am interested in purchasing a property near one of the WDC alternatives. How will the WDC alternatives impact new subdivisions?
Since the release of the Draft EIS, UDOT has had several property owners propose subdivisions on properties that would potentially be impacted by the WDC alternatives. Through the corridor preservation process, UDOT has worked with the property owners to either purchase properties that would be impacted by the WDC alternatives or make minor design changes to the WDC alternatives (for example, changing the alignment of a local road) based on the subdivision plans. Please contact the WDC Team if you have questions about specific developments.
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 Draft EIS.
How were wetlands identified?
The wetlands analyzed in the Draft EIS have been identified using the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual and the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Arid West Region. These manuals include the most current wetlands delineation methods approved by the Corps of Engineers. The wetlands identified in the study area and wetland impact analysis are in Chapter 14 of the Draft EIS.
Are farms, homes, businesses and wetlands all equally considered? How are they protected?
Impacts to all of these resources are analyzed in the Draft 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 Draft 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?
A draft estimate of the direct home impacts (relocations) and potential relocations for the WDC alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIS are identified in Appendix 5A of the Draft EIS. These relocations and potential relocations are based on the preliminary engineering design used in the Draft 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.
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.
How much of an impact does my comment have?
FHWA and UDOT have reviewed all comments provided on the Draft EIS. In the Final EIS, FHWA and UDOT must provide a written response to all comments received on the Draft EIS. Every comment 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.
What influence do municipalities have on this decision? If my city council passed a resolution on a WDC alternative, how do you consider that?
FHWA and UDOT have coordinated closely with all the cities and counties in the WDC study area and have tried to plan the WDC alternatives in a manner that is consistent with city transportation and land use plans. Consistency with local land use plans is evaluated in Chapter 3: Land Use of the Draft EIS. Note that a final decision will consider the regional transportation needs and all impacts to the human and natural environment, not just the desires of a particular municipality.
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 Draft EIS.
Southern Alternatives: Kaysville & Farmington
What accounts for the cost estimate differences between the Shepard Lane alternative and the Glovers Lane alternative?
The methodology that was used to estimate the costs for the alternatives evaluated in the Draft EIS is described in Technical Memorandum 20: Cost Estimates for WDC Alternatives in the Draft EIS. This technical memorandum is available on the WDC project website. As shown in Tech Memo 20, there are many cost differences between the Shepard Land and Glovers Lane options, but the largest cost difference is due to the Shepard Lane option having more structure costs.
If the Glovers Lane option is selected, how will emergency vehicles access west Farmington from WDC if there are no interchanges in this area?
Emergency vehicle access will be maintained on all parts of the West Davis Corridor, including the Glovers Lane option.
Many children who live on the south side of the proposed Shepard Lane alternative walk to school on the north side. How will they get to school if the Shepard Connector option is built?
The preliminary Shepard Lane option design includes a pedestrian underpass at 350 East (Kaysville).
Will the Shepard Lane alternative create a traffic bottleneck on I-15?
Current evaluations of the Shepard Lane alternative with I-15 show that it can accommodate all expected traffic from both I-15 and the WDC at an acceptable level of service through 2040.
Does the Shepard Connector option have enough space for an adequate interchange to I-15?
The initial design developed for the WDC connection to I-15 south of Shepard Lane shows there is enough space for the proposed WDC connection to I-15 and Legacy Parkway. Although there are impacts associated with the Shepard Lane alternative, the WDC team is working to minimize those impacts as much as possible.
Does the Shepard Lane alternative limit the opportunity for future expansion because it must fit into such a small space?
The WDC team is using a planning period of approximately 30 years (to 2040), which means all transportation improvements must accommodate expected traffic volumes through 2040. The WDC team has initially evaluated the connection of the WDC with I-15 and projected that in 2040 it will be able to accommodate all expected traffic at an acceptable level of service. To predict conditions beyond 2040 would be speculative and beyond the capabilities of the current travel demand model.
What impact does the Shepard Lane alternative have on the Oakridge Golf Course?
The current Shepard Lane alignment does impact the Oakridge Golf Course. The WDC team has met with and will continue to work with Oakridge to minimize the impacts associated with this alternative.
Hasn’t the Shepard Lane option historically been the planned route for this corridor?
Over the last twenty years, there have been several planning studies to help identify a future transportation corridor in western Davis and Weber counties. Over these years, these planning studies and the preference of various municipalities have changed. While local planning studies help communities plan for future transportation needs, they do not perform the in-depth analysis that is required for federal actions. This EIS is the final stage before a project can be funded, designed and constructed. It is worth noting that both the Shepard Lane option and the Glovers Lane option have been the planned route for this corridor at different times.
The Glovers Lane alternative provides an alternate (i.e., evacuation) route for I-15. If the Shepard Connector option is selected, what will happen if there is a natural disaster or emergency that clogs up I-15?
The primary purpose of the WDC is to improve regional mobility. This does not include providing an evacuation/emergency route for I-15. In fact, one of the initial alternatives considered to improve mobility in the area was to widen I-15. Having an alternate route during the very rare occasions when emergencies create delays on I-15 may be a benefit of the WDC, but from a cost/benefit perspective, considering permanent impacts of a new roadway takes priority over providing temporary relief in rare circumstances. From a safety perspective, the WDC team's engineers are identifying emergency detour routes for both Farmington options to ensure traffic can be redirected in an emergency.
Do both the Shepard Lane and Glovers Lane alternatives include appropriate safety measures?
Roadway projects are designed in accordance with standards developed through years of research and safety evaluations. The design of the project will include appropriate safety buffers and pedestrian access management regardless of which alternative is chosen.
Can you fit the West Davis Corridor into the preserved corridor between Quail Crossing and Hunter's Creek?
The width of the corridor between the Quail Crossing and Hunter's Creek subdivisions is 146 feet. The 250-foot right of way for the WDC is based on UDOT design standards to meet safety requirements for new roadway facilities.
In a letter dated July 9, 2007, Cory Pope, then UDOT Region One Director, said a corridor study had been completed "several years" prior to 2007 that recommended a preferred corridor of 328 feet for the "future North Legacy Highway." Mr. Pope went on to explain that UDOT understood "certain commitments had been made regarding the Hunter's Creek and Quail Crossing Subdivisions in Farmington, and that only a 146 foot width would be available in this area for the future North Legacy Highway." Mr. Pope said his current information at the time (2007), "suggests that a two-lane facility (one lane each direction) would serve the needs of the North Legacy Highway for approximately 20 years." He then explained that eventually the road would need to be widened. Mr. Pope ended the letter by saying, "Finally, although we do our best to plan for future transportation infrastructure, until a formal environmental study is completed, no details of future construction can be considered final."
The WDC team is now doing the "formal environmental study" Mr. Pope referred to. The data being used is the most current data available, and the WDC is seeking to meet the needs for approximately the next 30 years (to 2040), not 20 years. Because of the new data and timeline, the road would need to be four lanes, not two, which to meet UDOT safety standards equates to a four-lane divided highway that is 250 feet wide. However, the WDC team is in the process of conducting more detailed engineering and survey work in the Shepard Lane area and is considering various options.
The Shepard Lane alternative bisects a close community. Is this being considered?
The expected impacts to homes, neighborhoods and communities are included in the Draft EIS. This evaluation includes the impacts of separating communities, quality of life, community facilities, access to schools and parks and other important features identified by the community.
Central Options: Syracuse & Layton
What’s the difference between the 2001 Bluff Road Alignment and Alternatives B1-B4?
Alternatives B1-B4 use parts of the same alignment as the 2001 Bluff Road corridor. In some areas, Alternative B is west of the 2001 Bluff Road corridor to avoid impacts to wetlands located west of Bluff Road. In other areas, the alignment of Alternative B is located west of the 2001 Bluff Road corridor to minimize impacts to residences and parks that are located along the 2001 Bluff Road corridor.
How will trails in Syracuse be affected by Alternatives B1-B4?
All impacted trails will be mitigated to maintain their connectivity. The proposed mitigation for the impacts to the Emigrant Trail in Syracuse from Alternatives B1-B4 are shown in Figure 10-7 in Volume IV of the Draft EIS.
Are you considering the impacts to Syracuse Arts Academy?
Yes. We have met with Syracuse Arts Academy officials and will continue to work with them to minimize the impacts to their school. Part of our study does include analyzing the impacts for noise and air quality of a potential corridor. This analysis is in the Draft EIS.
Are Alternatives A1-A4 still being considered in the EIS?
Yes. Alternatives A1-A4 and B1-B4 are being considered as alternatives. No final decision has been made. UDOT has identified its locally preferred alternative in the Draft EIS. FHWA will make a final decision as part of the Record of Decision.
Northern Options: West Point, Hooper & West Haven
Why doesn't the study go to 12th Street anymore?
In May 2011, the Wasatch Front Regional Council updated its Regional Transportation Plan, which the WDC team used to analyze future transportation needs in the study area. The results of this update showed that a corridor extending to 12th street was no longer needed. The alternatives were also refined based on this update. Alternative A now terminates at 4000 South in Weber County, with options at 5100 West and 4700 West. Alternative B now terminates at 5100 West 5500 South in Weber County.
How far north do Alternatives A & B go?
Both Alternative A and Alternative B extend into Weber County. Alternative A terminates at 4000 South in Weber County, and Alternative B terminates at 5100 West 5500 South in Weber County.
Will you be following the 2001 Bluff Corridor in West Point?
Due to impacts to wetlands and residential development, none of the WDC alternatives follow all of the original 2001 Bluff Corridor in West Point. However, in West Point, Alternatives B1 and B3 (4100 West Option) use parts of the 2001 Bluff Road corridor in West Point, and they are located just west of the 2001 Bluff Corridor in other areas.