Levels of community
involvement vary from project to project and even from phase to phase within
a particular project. On the U.S. 31E
Reconstruction Project, the already completed "scoping" phase involved
the public heavily, and included a series of three general public meetings.
The meetings helped engineers narrow the project into a definable corridor
or general study area.
The next phase of the project involves completing an environmental assessment and preliminary engineering study. This phase of the project will be an intensive field research and documentation of environmental resources, followed by refinement of the alternative alignments in much greater level of detail than done in the scoping study. The community will be heavily involved in the development of both the environmental assessment and the alignments that comprise the preliminary engineering study.
The first step in working towards the environmental assessment was to perform the Section 106 Review of Historic Properties within the project corridor. A public meeting and a series of Consulting Parties meetings were combined with field investigation to develop a comprehensive list of historic properties considered eligible for the National Historic Register within the project corridor.
In order to fully involve the public in the alignment development process, a Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) was formed to serve as a community based sounding board for the project team. The CAG is a group of 60 individuals from various demographics representing the community at large. The CAG has met 4 times (February 10, March 10, April 8, and April 21 during 2003) on a variety of issues ranging from determining criteria to evaluate alternates to commenting on a set of new alternative alignments developed from improved environmental information and public comment. Through each step of this process, mail-outs were sent to over 750 households within the corridor to solicit information on which issues should be considered as well as to identify the most important of the final set of issues developed by the CAG. A public meeting was held on May 8, 2003 to present the preliminary alignments to the public. Questionnaires were distributed at the public meeting to request feedback on the alignments and specific issues within the corridor.
This phase of the project will culminate with a public hearing where the community can provide helpful insight that will be used as one of the determining factors in selecting a preferred alternative.
Attending public meetings and applicable committee meetings, reading project newsletters, and making comments are the best ways to get involved with this project. Would you like to add your name to the mailing list to receive newsletters and other information about this project? If so, click on the link named mailing list.