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National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Process

  • Intent to Study Letter – formal notification to adjacent businesses and residents that NDOT and FHWA intend to conduct environmental and preliminary engineering studies for a project. It is also to solicit public input to assist the project team in further identifying the purpose and need for the project, address concerns and potential impacts, and to be aware of potential mitigation measures.
  • Document the problems that need fixing. The Purpose & Need Statement documents why the project is needed.
  • Develop different ideas on how to fix those problems. The Range of Alternatives Considered documents the ideas, or alternatives, NDOT developed and analyzed. Three alternatives are under consideration: the North, South and Recessed Alternatives. Also, the option of doing nothing is considered. NDOT does not feel doing nothing (referred as the No-build Alternative) is a reasonable option, but it is used as a baseline for comparison to the North, South and Recessed Alternatives.
  • Solicit public and agency input throughout the environmental process. 
    • NDOT created a Public Outreach Plan to ensure timely and accurate information is provided to the public throughout the life of the project. An Environmental Justice Targeted Outreach Plan contains additional engagement strategies and a door-to-door survey targeted to minority and low-income (“environmental justice”) populations because these communities would experience impacts from the project.
    • Impact Assessment Methodologies are prepared and made available so any concerns or questions may be answered before impact analysis begins. The Impact Assessment Methodologies have recently been updated.
    • The Agency Coordination Plan documents the role local, state and federal agencies play in the study and lets agencies know when they will be asked to provide input.
    • The Agency Scoping Meeting allows NDOT to share project details and solicit agency input.
  • Prepare a document addressing the environmental impacts of the project.
  • Selection of an alternative to be implemented.
NEPA umbrella covers, air quality, environmental justice, visual character/aesthetics, hazardous materials, noise, water resources, community resources, vegetation, wildlife and fish, and cultural resources.