BAY CROSSING STUDY TIER 1 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT PUBLIC HEARINGS COMING SOON
Call-in & Live Testimony Sessions Begin This Month
Public Comments Accepted Through May 10, 2021
BALTIMORE, MD (April 7, 2021) – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are holding public hearings to provide the public additional opportunities to review and comment on the Bay Crossing Study Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which has been prepared pursuant to the federally mandated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The Tier 1 DEIS for the ongoing Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study is available for review and comment at baycrossingstudy.com. The purpose of the study is to consider two-mile-wide corridors to provide additional capacity and access across the Chesapeake Bay to improve mobility, travel reliability and safety at the existing William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge, while considering financial viability and environmental responsibility. The MDTA is accepting comments on the Bay Crossing Study Tier 1 DEIS for the public record through May 10, 2021. If you are unable to view the DEIS on the website, please call 1-877-249-8370.
The public hearings are comprised of two components – a Public Hearing Virtual Information Room (VIR) and Live Testimony Sessions. The VIR is available on baycrossingstudy.com. In the VIR, attendees can review information on the Tier 1 DEIS, register to give public testimony and learn how to submit written comments. Call-in and in-person testimony sessions will be held this month.
The public is encouraged to testify at one of the testimony sessions. If you wish to provide testimony, please visit baycrossingstudy.com to register. If you cannot access the project website, call 1-877-249-8370 to register. Due to current COVID-19 health precautions and MDTA’s commitment to protect the public and agency members, the public is encouraged to provide public testimony through the call-in sessions. The testimony sessions are intended for live testimony only and will not include presentations nor responses to questions. The dates and times are:
All comments received, whether at the hearing through oral testimony or through other methods – such as via the project website, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and mail at Bay Crossing Study, 2310 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD 21224 – will be given equal consideration.
The Bay Crossing Study Tier 1 DEIS can be viewed online at baycrossingstudy.com or in-person at the following viewing locations:
*Please check baycrossingstudy.com for up-to-date in-person viewing locations
**By appointment only
The release of the DEIS is one step in the Bay Crossing Tier 1 Study. Additional steps include identifying a Selected Corridor Alternative and publishing a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision document in collaboration with FHWA, expected to be complete in winter 2021/2022.
After the Tier 1 NEPA Study is completed and should funding become available, a potential Tier 2 study could be initiated. A Tier 2 study would identify specific alignment alternatives within the two-mile-wide Selected Corridor Alternative identified during Tier 1. Completion of the Tier 1 study does not presume the initiation of a Tier 2 NEPA study, since no funding has been identified beyond the current Bay Crossing Study.
A Tier 2 NEPA Study could take three to five years to: 1) identify and evaluate a no-build alternative and various crossing alignments within the two-mile-wide Tier 1 Selected Corridor Alternative; 2) evaluate how buses, ferries, transportation system management and demand management could be used in conjunction with these crossing alignments; 3) review potential environmental impacts; 4) determine project delivery methods, such as design-bid-build or design-build, to organize and finance design, construction, operations, and maintenance; and 5) develop a financial plan that could lead to FHWA ultimately approving one alignment with a Tier 2 ROD. The process would need a Tier 2 Record of Decision before proceeding to final design, right-of-way acquisition and construction if a build alignment alternative is selected.