Robert Peccia & Associates.

Environmental assessment and nationwide section 4(f) evaluation Canyon Ferry Road : STPS 430-1(5)1; CN 4480, Lewis and Clark County, Montana (Volume 2003) online

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STPS 430-1 (5) 1; CN 4480


This document is prepared in conformance with the Montana Environmental Policy Act [MEP A) requirements
and contains the information required for an Environmental Assessment under the provisions of ARM
18.g.237f21 and 18-2.239 . It is also prepared in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act
[NEPA) requirements for an Environmental Assessment under 23 CFR 771.119 and Section 4(t) of the U.S.

Submitted pursuant to: 42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c), 49 U.S.C. 303 and
Sections 2-3-104, 75-1-201, M.C.A.

by the

Montana Department of Transportation

and the

U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Submitted by:

M^ /^ -J^ /-^

'nvironmental Services



Reviewed & Approved for Distribution:

^^=yw^ \y^A^K^feJj ^Date: __^lZAs_


The following persons may be contacted tor additional information about this document:

Jean A. Riley, P.E. Daie Paulson

Engineering Section Supervisor Project Development Engineer

Environmental Services Federal Highway Administration

Montana Department of Transportation 2880 Skyway Drive

P.O. Box 201 001 Helena, MT 59602

Helena, MT 59620-1 001

Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1 Environmental Assessment


Page No.


A. Introduction 1

B . Project Location, Lengtli and Termini 1

C. Scope of the Proposed Project 2

D. Project Funding 5

E. Jurisdiction 6


A. Purpose 9

B . Transportation and Otlier Needs 9

1 . Project History and Status 9

2. Functional Classification 11

3. Current and Projected Road Use 11

4. Current and Future Level of Service (LOS) 13

5. Roadway and Bridge Deficiencies 15

6. Road Condition 21

C. Safety 22

1. Accident Histoiy of tlie Project Area 22

D. Legislation Mandating Action 26

E. Overall Conclusions on Need 26


A. Introduction 27

B . No Action Alternative 27

C. Preferred Action/Associated Features 28

1 . Overview 28

2. Design Speed/Posted Speed Limits 29

3. Horizontal and Vertical Alignments 30

4. Canyon Feiry Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection 31

5. Otlier Intersections and Approaches 31

6. Typical Road Cross-Sections 32

7 . Bridges and Culverts/Drainage 36

8. Traffic Signals and Lighting 36

9. Access Control and Management 37

10. Highway Right-of-Way and Utilities 38

11. Miscellaneous Features 38

D. Design Options Considered But Rejected 40

1 . Incorporation of Otlier Roadside Features in tlie

Commercial/Residential Section 40

E. Location Alternatives Considered But Rejected 41

1 . Reconstmct tlie Rural Section of Canyon Ferry Road

Following tlie Existing Centerline 41

2. Offset Canyon Ferry Road to the North Between the Helena

Valley Canal and Hart Lane 41

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Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1 Environmental Assessment

Page No.

3. Reconstiuctthe Commercial/Residential Section of Caiiyon Ferry

Road on aii Offset Alignment 42

F. Other Layouts Eliminated for the Canyon Fen y Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection 42


A. Introduction 54

B . Impacts to tlie Natui'al Environment 54

1 . Impacts to Landforms, Geology and Soils 54

2. Impacts to Important Farmland 56

3. Impacts to Water Resources and Quality 58

4. Floodplain Impacts 63

5. Air Quality Impacts 66

6. Impacts to Vegetation 68

7 . Impacts to Wetlands 70

8. Impacts to Tlireatened and Endangered Wildlife 73

9. Impacts to Other Wildlife and Fisheries Resources 77

C. Impacts to tlie Human and Cultural Environment 80

1 . Land Use Impacts 80

2. Right-of- Way and Utility Impacts 82

3 . Transportation/Circulation Impacts 85

4. Social Impacts/Environmental Justice 86

5 . Economic Impacts 88

6. Noise Impacts 90

7. Hazardous Substances 93

8. Impacts to Cultural, Archaeological/Historical Resources 96

9. Section 4(fi Impucts 98

10. Section 6/f/ Lmds 99

11. Pedestrian and Bicyclist Facilities 99

12. Impacts to Visual Resources 101

1 3 . Secondai y and Cumulative Impacts 102

14. Constiuction Impacts 106

15. Pennits Required 108


A. Agency Coordination 109

1 . Cooperating Agencies 109

2. Agencies Consulted 109

B . Public Involvement Activities 110

1. Project Notices/Eaily Project Meetings 110

2. November 14, 2001 Public Meeting 110

3. Project Scoping Comments Ill

4. June 3, 2002 Public Meeting 113

5 . Personal Contacts witli Landowners 113

6. Planned Public Involvement Activities 113

C. Distiibution List for Document 115

D. List of Agencies Witli Jurisdiction and/or Permits Required 124

E. List of Other Agencies, Persons, or Groups Contacted

or That Have Contiibuted Information 124

- II -

Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment



List of Preparers

Correspondence Pertinent to Project

Public Involvement

"Nationwide" Section 4(f) Evaluation Form and Attachments


Figure 1:
Figure 2:
Figure 3:
Figure 4:
Figure 5.
Figure 6.

Figure 7:
Figure 8:

Photo Plate 1
Photo Plate 2
Photo Plate 3
Photo Plate 4

Page No.

Regional Location Map 3

Project Area M^ 4

Accident History Map 23

Proposed Alignment and Typical Road Cross-Sections 33

Proposed Reconfiguration of Canyon Feiry Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection 34

Alternate Alignments Consideied for Canyon Ferry Road/Spokane Creek Road

Intersection Reconfiguration 45

Irrigation Qossings and Bridges along Canyon Ferry Road 60

Floodplains in the Vicinity of Canyon Ferry Road 65

Photographs of the Canyon Feny Road Conidor 7

Photographs of the Canyon Ferry Road Corridor 8

Photographs Illustrating Deficiencies and Reconstiuction Needs 17

Photographs Illustrating Deficiencies and Reconstiuction Needs 18


Table 1
Table 2
Table 3
Table 4


Table 6:

Table 9:

Current and Future Traffic Volumes- Canyon Feny Road 12

Level of Service (LOS) Descriptions 13

Bridge Locations, Types, and Sufficiency Ratings - Canyon Feny Road 21

Accident Summaiy (1991-2001) Canyon Ferry Road Conidor

(RP 1.0 to RP 9.241) 24

Comparison of Environmental Effects of Prefened Action Versus Other Alternates

Considered for Canyon Feiry Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection 47

Species, Habitat and Potential Occurrence of Threatened or Endangered

Wildlife in the Canyon Ferry Road Project Area 74

Noise Abatement Criteria (NAC) 91

Underground Storage Tank(UST) Facilities in tlie Project Area 94

Archaeological and Historical Sites - Canyon Feny Road Coiridor 97

- Ill -

Canyon Ferry Road

STPS430-ifSJ V Control No. 4480

Environmental Assessment


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment

I. Description of the Proposed Action

A. Introduction

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), m cooperation with Lewis & Clark
County, plans to recoiistnict 13.6 kilometers (km) or about 8.4 miles, of Montana Secondary
Route 430 ("S-430") also known as Canyon Feny Road. The project also mvolves limited work
on Montana Secondary Route 284 (known as "S-284" or Spokane Creek Road) soutli of the
intersection of tliese routes. The state's Secondary Highway System consists of over 7,578 km
(4,709 miles) of transportation routes of regional and local importance.

The pioposed reconstruction is being administered under a project designated by MDT as
"Canyon Feny Road" [Project Nmnber STPS 430-1(5) 1, Control Number 4480]. If advanced,
MDT would implement the proposed highway improvements under one or more construction
projects depending on the availability of funding. For simplicity, references to "Canyon Feny
Road" in tliis document mean all portions of S-430 and S-284 mcluded withm the limits of this
proposed project. References made to "Spokane Creek Road" mean the portion of S-284 located
southoftheintersectionofS-430 and S-284.

MDT and Lewis and Claik County have pioposed reconstructing Canyon Ferry Road due to the
safety concerns associated with the design of tlie present roadway, its deteriorated condition, and
the continuing increases in ti'affic on the road. There is also a desue to provide a traffic facility
more compatible with the type of development that has and will likely occur along the route.
The Canyon Feny Road project is not mtended to induce any new growth or development, but
merely keep pace with tiie tiaffic generated, in part, by the growtii that is akeady occurring and
will occur with or witiiout the improved roadway.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) addresses the potential environmental effects of improving
Canyon Ferry Road. MDT, tiirough the assrstance of an engineermg consultant, has initiated
project development and prehminaiy design activities for this proposed project. This early
project work rs essentral for determining the most appropriate design and location for the
reconstincted road, identifying the actions and activrtres associated witii reconstnicting the
lirghway, and for helping to predict the impacts of rebuilding this portion of Canyon Ferxy Road.

References in thrs document to the "proposed project" or "proposed action" refer specrfically to
tiie improvements and actrvities associated with tire Canyon Feny Road project. Text references
to the "project corridor" refer to tire existing section of the Canyon Ferry Road highway and
immediately adjacent lands affected by tiie proposed reconstruction.

B. Project Location, Length and Termini

Project Area Location. The project area occurs in tire southeastern portion of Lewrs and
Clark County, Montana beginning about 1.6 km (1 mile) nortiieast of the corporate limits of the
City of Helena. At itsnearest location, the Town of East Helena is about 2.4 km (1.5 miles)

- 1 -

Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1 Environmental Assessment

south of the proposed project. The generallocationof the project area in Montana and in Lewis
and Clark County is shown in FIGURE 1.

The CanyonFeny Road project corridor is located in Sections 13, 14, 15, 22, 23 and 24 of
Township- 10-North, Range-3-West, M.P.M. and Sections 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
and 23 of Township-10-Nortli, Range-2-West, M.P.M., and Section 18 of Township-10-North,
Range-1-West, M.P.M.

The CanyonFeny Road project corridor is compiisedof two distinctly different areas of
roadside development — a residential/commercial section and a rural section. The
residential/coinmeicial section of the corridor, wliich extends &om the project's beginning to
Lake Helena Drive at RP 4.1,islocatedingenerally level teixain and lands adjacent to the
liighway have been developed to a moderate density with numerous residential subdivisions,
commercial estabhshments, and industrial uses. Major mtersecting roads in this section include
Wylie Drive, Valley Diive, and Lake Helena Drive.

The rural section (RP 4. 1 to the project end) passes through rolling terrain witli development
consisting of scattered residences and farm and ranch land. A cluster of residences and a
business exist near the intersection of Canyon Feny Road and Spokane Creek Road. Other than
Spokane Creek Road, the otlier major intersectmg roads in this section include Dielil Drive/R
Drive, Hart Lane, Fames Lane and Keir Lane. Holmberg Drive accesses a major rural
subdivision in the rural section of the corridor.

Project Termini. MDT's proposed Canyon Feixy Road project begins at Reference Post (RP)
1 .205 on S-430 near' tlie City of Helena's water tieahnent plant and extends easterly for about
13.6 km (8.4 miles) to end near RP 9.6 east of tlie present intersection of Canyon Feixy Road and
(Spokane Creek Road).

FIGURE 2 shows tlie specific sections of S-430 and S-284 proposed for reconstruction under
the Canyon Ferry Road project. PHOTO PLATES 1 and 2 show typical landscapes m the
pioject area.

C. Scope of the Proposed Project

This project mvolves reconstructir^ the existing bituminous surfaced roadway to meet current
MDT Road Design Standar'ds for Rural Major Collectors.

In general, the proposed Canyon Ferry Road reconshiiction project would: widen the exrsting
7.2 rn (24-foot) two-lane facility to mclude new suifacmg witli wider shoulders and turn lanes at
appropriate locations; improve the configurations and layouts of major intersections; and alter
tlie road's grades and horizontal ahgnment to provide desuable srght distances. The project
would be designed to meet all MDT standards for Rural Major Collectors wrth similar traffic
volumes and desrgn speeds.


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment



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,^ -.All 1 NATIONAL 'J


gjn Project ■

Project STPS 430-1(5)1

Figure 1

Regional Location Map

Map Nat To Scale


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment




Figure 2
Project Area Map


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1 Environmerital Assessment

The new alignment for Canyon Feny Road would typically follow the existmg road's alignment
fiom the project's begmnmg to Lake Helena Drive. Cmb and gutter and a stonn water runoff
collection system would be provided witliin tlie residential/commercial section of the project
coiTidor between Wylie and Lake Helena Diives. The area behind the curb and gutter in this
section would also graded, topsoiled and seeded. This would allow easy construction of
sidewalks with minunal disturbances should these features be installed under a separate hiture
project. Installation of a traffic signal is proposed at tlie Wyhe Drive intersection. The Valley
Drive intersection would be reconstructed to facilitate the installation of a fliture signal when
warrants aie met.

East of Lake Helena Drive, the new road would be reconstructed to a "rural" design with
horizontal alignment sliifts, flatter roadside slopes, and ditches along the highway. Sharp curves
and the vertical alignment of tlie load in this aiea of Canyon Feiry Road would be modified to
meet MDT's geometric design criteria. The intersection at Canyon Feiry Road witii Spokane
Creek Road would also be substantially reconfigured to improve safety.

The pioposed pioject would include acquiring additional right-of-way for tiie liighway,
relocating conflicting utilities, clearing and grubbing, grading, surface drainage, plant mix
surfacing, replacing existing bridges and culverts, signing and striping, seeding, fencing and
other miscellaneous items.

The Canyon Feny Road project would also include limited access contiol to help alleviate tiafflc
conflicts, improve safety, and provide for more uniform ti'affic fiows. Access control may
involve adjusting approach locations for safer alignments, eliminatmg unnecessary appioaches,
and combining multiple approaches.

The Helena Valley Canal Bridge (located at RP 4.77, east of Lake Helena Drive), the "No
Name" Spring Creek Bridge (located at RP 8.68), a dual culvert installation at Spokane Creek
(RP 8.97), a small uiigation canal structure at about RP 2.1, and a cast-in-place concrete
stockpass at RP 7.5 would be replaced with the proposed project. A bridge spanning the Helena
Valley Canal near tire east project termmus would also need replacement due to the proposed
modifications at tire Canyon Feny Road/Spokane Creek Road mtersecfion. New structiues or
pipes would be built on or near the aligmnentsof the existing structures. Affected urigation
facilities would also be replaced under this project.

Additional details about tire proposed improvements and alternatives considered are included in
Part III of tills document.

P. Project Funding

The proposed improvements would be financed under Montana's Surface Transportation
Program Secondary (STPS) with funds from tiie Federal Highway Trust Fund. STPS funding is
about 87 percent federal witii a 13 percent state match. These fluids are currently available
tinoughtiie TransportationEquityAct for the 2 1st Century (TEA-21) and are admimstered
by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). TEA-21, enacted m June 1998,
authorized the Federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety, and tiansit


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1 Environmerital Assessment

for the six-year period fiom 1998-2003. Since TEA-21 will expire on September 30, 2003,
fluidiiig for the Canyon Ferry Road project would come from a new authorization of suiface
transportation programs. The UNrrED States Department of Transportation (DOT) is
cuiTently working with Congress, State and local officials, tribal governments, and others on the
next six-yeai' reauthorization of suiface transportation programs. Should the project be split into
two or more projects for implementation beyond the next six-year time&ame for reauthorization,
some projects would likely be funded under otliei flituie authorizations of federal suiface
transportation programs.

Funding for Montana's Secondary highways are distiibuted based on a variety of factois
including land area accessed, niral population served, and luial road mileage. The 1999
Legislature changed Montana's Secondary Highways Progiam to require counties in each of five
Financial Districts to jointly develop and piioritize capital improvements programs. In the past,
individual counties could prioritize projects within their jurisdiction. Lewis and Clark County
nominated Canyon Ferry Road for reconstruction. In January 2000, the counties in the Gieat
Falls Financial District established the Canyon Feiiy Road project as priority number five of
eleven projects under consideration for this district.

E. Jurisdiction

Maintenance of Canyon Ferry Road has liistorically been Lewis and Clark County's obligation.
However, action by tlie 1999 Montana State Legislature shifted tlie maintenance responsibility
for paved secondary highways fiom individual counties to MDT. The tiansition in mamtenance
responsibility for all paved Secondary Routes was completed by January 2001 . MDT is now
responsible for performing major maintenance activities on Canyon Ferry Road and within its
dedicated right-of-way.

The Montana Highway Patrol and the Lewis and Clark County Sheriffs Department share the
responsibility for law enforcement on Canyon Ferry Road and adjoining roadways.


Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment

Photo Plate 1

Looking west from near Walter Drive east of Pricl<ly Pear Creek. This photo shows the recently completed
"One Mile East of Helena" construction, which adjoins the beginning of the Canyon Ferry
Road project.




^?BC2Sitfi*^^1»* V^^WR^Si

Typical view of commercial/residential section of the Canyon Ferry Road corridor. The photo is taken
looking westerly towards the intersection with Valley Drive. Numerous residential approaches and lack of
turn lanes within this section contribute to vehicular conflicts. Note the proximity of utility poles to the
existing road.

- 18 -

Canyon Ferry Road; STPS 430-1(5) 1

Environmental Assessment

Photo Plate 2






Typical view of the "rural section" of the Canyon Ferry Road project corridor east of Lake Helena Drive.
Lands adjoining the highway in this section have been developed with agricultural uses and scattered rural

Looking easterly along Canyon Ferry Road near the eastern terminus of the project. This photo illustrates
existing development along Canyon Ferry Road on the approach to the Spokane Creek Road intersection.

- 18 -

Canyon Ferry Road

STPS430-ifSJ V Control No. 4480

Environmental Assessment



Canyon Ferry Road: STPS 430-1(5} 1

Environmental Assessment

II. Purpose and Need for the Project

A. Purpose

This section of tlie EA discusses the purpose of the proposed Canyon Ferry Road project and
describes the tiansportation and other needs of the project area. These "needs" primarily relate to
deficient conditrons associated witli the roadway and its features. The alternatives in Part III
were developed in response to these transportation needs.

The Canyon Feny Road project corridor has experienced high levels of growth over the last
decade. Housing developments in tlie immediate area and to the east of tlie project has
Significantly increased traffic volumes on tliis road. The liighway also serves as a primary route
for accessing Canyon Ferry Reservoir, one of southwest Montana's premiei recreation locations.
MDT and Lewis and Clark County have proposed the total reconstruction of the loute to
impiove the operation and safety of the facility and replace a deteriorating section of highway
tiiat is expensive and difficult to maintain.

Canyon Feny Road immediately west of tliis proposed project was totally reconstructed under
MDT's recentiy completed "One Mile East of Helena" project. The fimdamental purpose of this
proposed project is to upgrade the remaining portion of Canyon Feixy Road to provide for tire
safe and efficient movement of tiaffic. To accomplish this puipose, the proposed action must:

■ incorporate physical changes to the loadway and its adjoining enviromnent to mcrease
tire facility's efficiency, safety, comfort, and convenience for tire traveling public;

■ bring the road's design into compliance witii MDT's design standards for Non-NHS Rural
Major Collectors; and

■ reduce maintenance requirements and costs associated with the deterioiating roadway,
bridges and otiier drainage facilities on the route.

B. Transportation and Other Needs

This section identifies the tiansportation problems or concerns that already exist witii the current
tiansportation facility or tiiat will exist if tire pioposed improvements are not implemented.
These tiansportation "needs" focus primarily on tiaffic safety concerns and deficient or outdated
conditions associated with the roadway and its bridges. The section begins with a brief history
of the proposed project and a discussion of the roadway's function and use.


The origins of Canyon Feny Road tiace back to the late 1 860's. At that time, a road leading
fiom Helena to French Bar on tiie Missouri River crossed the soutiieastern portion of the Helena
Valley (including tiie general project area). Farmers and ranchers in this part of the Valley used
the route to tiansport agncultiual products to Helena residents. Over the years. Canyon Ferry


Canyon Ferry Road: STPS 430-1(5} 1 Environmental Assessment

Road's present location was established and the facility continued to evolve mto a more
important local transportation route. Hovv'ever, tlie road pnmarily served as a "farm-to- market"
route for rural residents until the constiiiction of Canyon Feny Daiu m the 1950s. After
completion of the darum 1954, tlie fimctionof Canyon Feixy Road began to cliange witli the
provision of new recreational opportunities at Canyon Feny Reservoir and the development of
seasonal residences on public land along tlie shores of tlie reservoir and on nearby private lands.
Canyon Feny Road became one of the principal ways for residents fiom the Helena area and
other parts of western Montana to access this new public recreation resource.

The exact date of conshiiction of Canyon Feny Road is not known but the highway bndges
witlim the project area date to 1958. Until tlie County completed a major improvement project in
1972, a significant portion of Canyon Ferry Road was typical gravel-surfaced ruial road. The
County's reconstniction project provided a 7.2 m (24-foot) wide bituminous smface over the
entue length of tlie route.

Maintenance of Canyon Ferry Road was the County's responsibility until 2000, when MDT
assmued maintenance responsibility for all paved secondary liighways in the state fioiu
individual counties. Over tlie years, the County performed routine maintenance and patching on
tlie route and replaced tlie bridge over Spokane Creek (RP 8.969) with a dual culvert but did not
undertake any otlier major improvements between 1 972 and tlie time when MDT assmued

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Online LibraryRobert Peccia & AssociatesEnvironmental assessment and nationwide section 4(f) evaluation Canyon Ferry Road : STPS 430-1(5)1; CN 4480, Lewis and Clark County, Montana (Volume 2003) → online text (page 1 of 19)