Environmental NEPA Oversight 2014
Kaskaskia Engineering Group, LLC (KEG) was part of the Project Management Consultant (PMC) team that supported the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) in the development of the Chicago-St. Louis High Speed Rail (CHISTL HSR) passenger rail service between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. The CHISTL HSR project team consisted of various members that included IDOT, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR), local governmental agencies, and multiple consulting engineering firms.
Illinois Department of Transportation
Environmentally, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for the project corridor began with the completion of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in January 2003 and subsequent Record of Decision (ROD) in January 2004. In 2011, an Environmental Assessment (EA) and associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) were completed for a specific project not addressed in the ROD. Due to the complexity and length of the project, IDOT and FRA then determined a tiered EIS process would be beneficial to the project.
In December 2012, FRA issued a ROD for the Tier 1 EIS for the project, outlining individual projects/segments along the corridor to be studied in greater detail. The Tier 2 documents (EAs or Categorical Exclusions) specifically addressed and evaluated individual component projects of the Selected Alternative carried forward from the Tier 1 study in more detail.
KEG supported the PMC team by conducting periodic visits to construction sites to observe mitigation and best management practice (BMP) efforts and protection of sensitive environmental resources during construction along the 280-mile CHISTL HSR corridor. KEG biologists and scientists documented areas where good efforts of resource monitoring and implementation of BMPs were initiated to minimize discharge of pollutants, uncontrolled erosion and sediment discharges outlined in the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) as well as areas where mitigation and BMPs could be improved. Specific observations and recommendations were provided in the Environmental Inspection Mitigation Monitoring forms.
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