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HDR Awarded Contract to Complete Supplemental EIS for Juneau Access Project

(JUNEAU, Alaska) The professional services contract to complete the court-ordered supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Juneau Access project has been awarded to HDR, Inc., a firm with experience in preparing Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) EISs in Alaska. The FHWA is the lead agency on the project, with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) working as a partner.

Federal District Court Judge John Sedgwick, in his February 13, 2009 decision, directed the FHWA to evaluate in more detail an alternative of providing additional ferry service in Lynn Canal using existing ferries and terminals. “The court outlined what we need to perform additional work on” said Alaska Department of Transportation Commissioner Marc Luiken, “which will help keep the discussion fairly concentrated. In addition to the environmental review, DOT will be analyzing the five other legal claims made by SEACC to stop the project so that when the SEIS work is complete, we can move the project forward.”

“There have been changes to environmental laws and regulations since the 2006 EIS was completed,” said Reuben Yost, SE Region Construction, Maintenance and Operations Director, “We also need to update the information on the affected environment, including changes in eagle nest locations and current sea lion use of haul outs. The Supplemental EIS will also include road alignment adjustments due to new geological information and new agency management plans that must be incorporated.”

Focused scoping will include contacting affected agencies for information on what should be updated. Agencies include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Forest Service and state agencies such as the Departments of Environmental Conservation; Natural Resources; Fish and Game and the Historic Preservation Office.

The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Southeast Region will also seek comments from the public in the next two months. An informational newsletter will be sent to all residents with a postal address and will also be inserted into newspapers in Juneau, Sitka, Haines and Skagway. “We’ll be looking for public input on the alternatives and analyses.” said Yost.

A draft of the supplemental EIS is expected by late 2012, with public hearings in January 2013, and final EIS completion by June of 2013.

Updates on the progress of the supplemental EIS can be viewed on the project website at
www.juneauaccess.alaska.gov.

ADOT&PF oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 33 communities, 5,700 miles of highway and 660 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of ADOT&PF is to “Get Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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