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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RP 8.7

Sec. 13,T10N,R2W

Not Eligible

Federally funded actions affecting historic sites that are on, or considered as eligible for the
NRHP alsomust comply with Sec ton 4(fi of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966,
as amended (49 U.S.C. 303). Although there is no need to determine the NRHP eligibility status
of the eight historic inigation ditches within tlie project, these historic features aie subject to
consideration under Section 4(f). Thrs compliance is discussed latei in tliis Part.

IMPACTS OF THE PREFERRED ACTION. The Preferred Action would not affect any
cultural propeities considered eligible for the NRHP.

The Preferred Actron would impact existing irrigation ditch crossings of Canyon Ferry Road and
would require tlie installation of new metal or concrete culverts beneath tlie road at each location
where the new liighway crosses tlie irrigation ditches. Foi the purposes of the 1993
Progiammatic Agieement regarding tlie treatment of lustoiic inigation ditches affected by
liighway construction m Montana, stiuctures associated with existing roads and built witli the
reconstructed roadway aie considered to be featiues of tlie roadway and not of the intersecting
imgation systems. FHWA and MDT have satisfied their responsibilities under the National
Historic Preservation Act (Section 1 06) for tins proposed project through the executron and
implementation of tiie 1993 Programmatrc Agreement.


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

IMPACTS OF THE NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE. The No Build Alternative would not
cause any further effects on tlie cultuial resouices in tlie Canyon Ferry Road project area.

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS. No cmnulative effects on archaeological or historical sites are
anticipated as a result of the Preferred Action. However, the likelihood for encountering cultural
materials increases as new lands become dishirbed by liighway improvement projects and otlier
ongoing and future developments in the area.

Mitigating Measures (Cultural Resource Impacts)

The following measuie will be implemented to minimize potential impacts on cultural resouices
due to implementation of the proposed project:

■ If significant unanticipated cultural materials are encountered during

construction, MDT will require the contractor(s) to temporarily suspend work in
the immediate vicinity of the find until the cultural materials can be assessed.


Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act {\^ U.S.C. 303), as amended, provides
for the protection of pubhcly-owned parks, recreation lands, historical sites, and wildUfe and
waterfowl lehiges.

There are no public parks, public recreation sites, or wildlife or waterfowl rehiges within the
area tliat would be affected by the proposed action. None of the liistoric sites that exist in the
Canyon Feny Road corridor are eligible for tlie NRHP. However, eight liistoric irrigation ditches
witlim the project colli dor are subject to 5'ec;';on 4(f). These ditches include sites 24LC1691
(unnamed ditch), 24LC1692 (Company Slough Ditch); 24LC1693 (Prickly Pear Ditch);
24LC1694 (unnamed ditch); 24LC1695 (Merritt-Gross Ditch), 24LC1696 (Stockbmgei Ditch);
24LC1697 (Peopping Ditch); and 24LC1698 (Smith Ditch).

The Bureau of Reclamation's Helena Valley hiigation Unit (24LC 1 062) is not considered to
be subject to Section 4(f) because the Bureau does not believe the property is NRHP ehgible.

IMPACTS OF THE PREFERRED ACTION. The Preferred Action would impact existing
inigation ditch crossings of Canyon Feny Road in the same mamier as previously described
under 8. Impacts to Cultural, Archaeological, and Historical Resources

In mid-1983, the FHWA developed a "Nationwide" Section 4(f Evaluation form for projects
requiring minor uses of land fi'om historic sites. The word "minor" is naiTowly defined by
FHWA as having eitlier a "no effect" or "no adverse effect" on the historic property. A copy of
tlie completed "Nationwide" Programmatic Section 4(f) Evaluation form for this project's
potential effects to the eight liistoric inigation ditches witlim the Canyon Feny Road com dor
can be found in APPENDIX D. The fonn programmatically demonstrates compliance wdth tlie


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

Environmental Assessment

provisions of Section 4(f).

IMPACTS OF THE NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE. The No Action Alternative would impact
any Section 4(f) properties.

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS. The likelihood for encountering culhual materials increases as new
lands are disturbed by liighway improvement projects and other ongoing and flitiue developments
in the area. However, the likelihood of discoveiir^ new cultiual sites witiitiiispioject is remote
since it primarily follows the existing road alignment vvithout excavating a significant amount of
undisturbed land, hi the unlikely event new culhual sites were discovered during tire course of
constiuction, mitigation measures would be implemented to protect tiiem.

Mitiqatincj Measures (Section 4(f) Resources Impacts)

A "Nationwrde" Programmatic Section 4(f) Evaluation form for the historic irrrgation ditches
affected by the proposed reconstruction of Canyon Ferry Road found in APPENDIX D discuss
measures to minimize harm to these properties.


Section 6(fj oiihs Natiomtl Land & Water Conservation Fund Act (16 U.S.C. 460) reqmies that
coordinatron be undertaken to determine if federal funds were used to acquire or improve any
lands in tiie project area for recreation or water conservation purposes. The Parks Divisron of
tire MDFWP mdicates tiiat none of the lands affected by this pioject were developed with money
horn the Land and Water Conservation Fund. For this reason, nerther the Preferred Action nor
the No Action Alternative would impact Section 6(fi lands.


Existing Conditions. Altiiough counts are not available to quantify such use. Canyon Ferxy
Road receives only limited use by pedestrians and bicychsts. Since little if any paved shoulder
cuiTently exists along the roadway, bicychsts must instead use a portion of the vehicle havel lane
or tiie unpaved shoulder for riding tiirough the project area. Pedestrians must also use the
unpaved shoulder or roadside slopes for walkmg along the highway.

The Helena Area Transportation Plan 1993 Update shows recommended bike routes and a
desired network of cross-community trails. This network of bike routes and hails was proposed
as part of a shategy for reducing vehicle miles of havel witliin tiie community and as a first step
toward promoting tire use of bicycles and walking as a legitimate means of hansportation.

Canyon Feny Road rs rdenhfied as a recommended bike route in the Helena Area
Transportation Plan 1993 Update. The plan also indicated tiiat it may be desuable for
pedestrian ti'ails to be located along Canyon Feiry Road, along Prrckly Pear Creek, and along a
major irrigation canal in the project area. It should be noted that the pedestrran hail system


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

designated in tlie Transportation Plan is conceptual and intended only to identify urban-suburban
travel desues for a variety of potential ti'ail users.

IMPACTS OF THE PREFERRED ACTION. The Preferred Action would provide a 2.4 m (8-
foot) wide shoulder fiom the beginning of tlie project to Wylie Diive and a proposed 1.8 m to 2.1
m (6 to 7 foot) wide shoulder from Wylie Drive to Lake Helena Drive. Witliin tlie rural section
of tlie project coiiidor, tlie new load would have a 2.4 m (8-foot) wide paved shoulder. Rimible
stiips compatible witli use by bicyclists would be milled into the shoulder witlun the rural
portion of the project. AASHTO recommends a mmimimi 1 .2 m (4 foot) wide shoulder for safe
bicycle tiavel along a roadway.

Various options for acconunodatrng pedestrians in the comnieicial/residential section were
presented for public comment at various meetings held throughout the scoping process. Options
considered mcluded doing nothing, sidewalks with boulevards, sidewalks belimd curbs and
multi-use paths. The public's directive to minimize light-of-way acquisition, budgetary
constraints, and a lack of public consensus about the need for pedestrian facilities led MDT to
eliminate sidewalks fiom tins proposed leconstRiction pioject. Sidewalk construction remains a
viable option for a separate future project on Canyon Ferry Road.

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS. Pedestrian and bicycle use of Canyon Ferry Road should be
enhanced slightly witli the provision of shoulders on the liighway. The proposed action would
not preclude Canyon Ferry Road fiom becoming a designated bike route as recommended in the
Helena Area Transportation Plan 1993 Update.

IMPACTS OF THE NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE. The No Action Alternative would not
change conditions foi pedestrians and bicychsts on Canyon Feixy Road. These highway users
would be required to continue using a portion of the travel lane, the impaved road shoulder, or
roadside slopes for tiavel along and tliiough tlie pioject area.

Mitiqatincj Measures (Pedestrian and Bicyclist Facilities)

No mitigating measmes are required or proposed.


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


Existing Conditions. Canyon Feny Road is situated in the eastern portion of the Helena
Valley and the highway crosses flat to gently rolling terrain in the valley until entering tlie
foothills of tlie Spokane Bench. The western segment of the project corridor is moderately
densely developed witli residential and commercial properties and gravel operations. The eastern
and more ruial section of the corridor passes tlnough rolling terrain with scatteied residences,
ranchettes, and farm and agricultural developments.

The land area seen fiom tlie highway corridor is dominated by background landscapes including
the Elkhom Mountains to tlie southeast, the Spokane Bench to the east, and the Big Belt
Mountains to tlie northeast. The Sciatchgiavel HiUs and Continental Divide aie visible to tlie
west of the pioject. Foiegromid landscapes seen from the liighway aie dominated by man-made
features mcludir^: the existing road, bridges, and associated feahires; intersectir^ roads and
approaches, fences; residences and outbuildings, landscaping, overhead utihties; and cultivated
and grazmg land. Additionally, natuial features like isolated stream corridors, wetlands, and
rolling hills adjacent to the road can be seen fiom tlie liighway.

Those who view the existing liighway and who would see the reconstructed transportation
facilities m the project coiridor include permanent and seasonal residents, recreationists travelii'^
to and fiom Canyon Ferry Reservoir and nearby public lands, employees and patrons of
businesses witlim tlie corridor, and otlier motorists passing tlnough the area.

IMPACTS OF THE PREFERRED ACTION. The Preferred Action would not change views
of tlie backgiound landscapes along Canyon Ferry Road. However, this alternative would cause
minor changes to the foreground landscape of the highway corridor. The vvddtliof thenew
roadway would be greater than that of the existing facility due to its increased pavement width
and revised roadside slopes. The addition of "uiban" featuies like curb and gutter, overhead
lighting, and a traffic signal at Wylie Drive would be very apparent changes in tlie western
section of the project area.

Reconfiguring tiie intersection of Canyon Ferry Road and Spokane Creek Road with the
associated modifications to terrain, the addition of lighting, and removal of several residences
would also be a notable change. These highway modifications would be noticeable to residents
and highway users familiar witii the previous roadway alignment of the road.

The Preferred Action would cause minor, short-term visual impacts durmg the construction
peiiod. Visual changes during constiuction would include: surface disturbances and clearing
until seeding areas grow in; temporary sign installations; the stoiage of excavatmg material,
equipment, and material; and dust and debris fiom constiuction activities.

CUMULATIVE IMPACTS. The implementation of this project and others proposed in the area
would incrementally change the views fiom tiie road and of tiie road for residents and highway

IMPACTS OF THE NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE. There would be no change in the visual

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

Environmental Assessment

appearance of tlie project area due to continued highway maintenance actions by MDT.

Mitiqatinq Measures (Visual Impacts)

The following measure would be incorporated with the proposed project to offset potential visual

■ Disturbed areas would be reseeded as quickly as possible.


Secondary (or indirect) effects are those that are caused by an action and are later in time or
farther removed m distance but are still reasonably foreseeable. Secondary impacts are generally
induced by the initial action and comprise a wide variety of effects such as, changes m land use,
water quality, economic conditions, or population density. The secondaiy impacts of the
proposedCanyonFeny Road project are addressed in appropriate sections of tliisPait.

Cumulative impacts are those effects that result from the incremental consequences of an action
when added to other past and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency
(federal or non-federal) undertakes such actions.

Projects Planned by MDT. Projects under constniction or planned by MDT in tlie vicinity
were reviewed to help assess the cimiulative impacts of this project. MDT cuixently has six
planned projects on the state highway system within the general vicinity of the Canyon Ferry
Road project, not including this proposed project. These projects are identified and briefly
described below:

■ 1-15 Corridor EIS. MDT is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) to identify and evaluate potential transportation improvements to the 1-15 corridor
between the Lincoln Road and Montana City mterchanges. The purpose of the EIS is to
identify tlie best alternative that will safely and efficiently accommodate anticipated
motorized and non-motorized traffic volumes wliile simultaneously improving east-west
travel crossing tlie 1-15 corridor. The EIS will identify potential futuie interchange
locations, one ofwhichmay be located at Custer Avenue (the extension of Canyon Ferry
Road witlim the City of Helena). 1-15 is located about 4 km (2.5 miles) west of the
beginnir^ of the Canyon Ferry Road project.

■ If an interchange were provided at Custer Avenue, Canyon Ferry Road would have a
drrect connection to 1-15 for the first time. Traffic volumes and travel patterns on Canyon
Feny Road east of Helena and connecting roads could notably change with tiie provrsion
of a new interchange. The scheduled completion date for the EIS is June 2003. A final
Record of Decisron (ROD) for tiie project will be completed in September 2003. The
timing of fatiire improvements to the 1-15 corridor, including the possrble development of
a new interchange at Custer Avenue, rs unknown at this time.


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

Custer (Washington-East) - Helena: CM 5802f6); ControlNo. 4462. MDT, in
cooperation with tlie City of Helena, is ciurently developing design plans for tlie
reconstniction of Custer Avenue between Washmgton Street and York Road. Thrs project
is located approximately 2.4 km (1.5 miles) west of the begmnmg of the proposed
Canyon Feny Road project. The Crty plans to reconstnict Custer Avenue witlim the
project segment to provide two 3.6 m(12 foot) travel lanes, a 4.2 m (14 foot) center turn
lane, and two 2.4 m (8 foot) wrde shoulders. The project should be ready for letting in
March 2004.

Helena-East Helena; NH 8-2(59) 46; ControlNo. 4820. Thrs proposed project would
mill the surface and replace tlie median and shoulder paving on a portion of U.S.
Highway 12/287 between Helena and East Helena. The proposed project is located about
3.2 km (2 miles) soutli of tlie Canyon Feny Road project area. The planned date for
implementation is during Frscal Year 2005.

2000-SFTY-Wylie Dr- N East Helena; STPHS 25(37); CN 4724. This project would
reconstruct a sharp curve on Wylie Drive located about 1 km (0.6 miles) south of the
intersection of Canyon Ferry Road/ Wyhe Drive intersection and implement other safety
improvements on the county road. The plamied date for implementation is during Fiscal
Year 2005.

Slope FItn - NE of Helena; STPHS 280-1(14)4; Control No. 3629. This planned MDT
project would flatten roadside slopes and resmface Secondaiy Highway 280 (York Road)
between Valley Drive and Lake Helena Drive. The proposed project is located about 3.2
km (2 miles) north of tlie Canyon Ferry Road corrrdor. The project is scheduled for
letting in November 2003.

■ Warren School Curve - East. Tliis planned MDT project would provide an overlay and

seal and cover on a portion of Secondary Hrghway 280 northeast of Helena. The
proposed project rs located about 3.2 km (2 miles) north of the Canyon Ferry Road
corridor. The anticipated completion date of this work is during Fiscal Year 2003.

It should be noted that the availability of flinding could affect the timing of implementation for
tliese projects.

The earhest anticipated date for the begimiing construction of the Canyon Ferry Road project is
2006. For funding reasons, reconstruction of tlie corridor would likely occur under at least two
projects beginnmg no sooner than 2006. The initial project would probably rebuild Canyon
Ferry Road from tlie project's beginning to just east of Lake Helena Drive. Reconstruction of
Canyon Feny Road east of Lake Helena Drive would likely occur" after tlie initial project is
finished, as soon as MDT can secure sufQcrent funding.

A review of these planned lughway projects shows that all of tliese projects will likely be
completed before MDT's Canyon Ferry Road constniction project rs initiated (2006). None of
these other MDT projects would be located closer tiian 1 km (0.6 miles) fiom the Canyon Feny
Road project area. The review also shows that none of the proposed projects would be of tiie
same magnitude as the proposed Canyon Ferry Road reconstniction project.

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

Because MDT's other active and planned reconstruction projects are not contrguous witli the
proposed work area on Canyon Feny Road and would not generally occiu' at the same time, the
cumulative enviromnental impacts of tliese projects on the proposed Canyon Ferxy Road project
would be minor. Similarly, the pioposed improvements on Canyon Feixy Road would not be
expected to pioduce any significant cmnulative environmental impacts on otlier proposed
projects m MDT s Butte or Great Falls Districts.

Although these MDT projects occur in the same general area of Lewis and Clark County and
would likely be implemented within two or three years of each other, the planning, design, and
construction of each project has proceeded independently. Implementing the Canyon Feixy Road
reconstruction project would not trigger the need for improvements to other adjoining segments
of the route or on Spokane Creek Road. Likewise, implementation of other known road projects
witiiin Lewis and Claik County would not lequire that any portion of Canyon Ferry Road be

However, it should be noted tiiat a possible fiiture decision to construct a new mterchange on I-
1 5 at Custer Avenue could dramatically affect the use of Custer Avenue within the City of
Helena and Canyon Ferry Road. Interchange constructron on Custer Avenue may be an action
tiiat indirectiy causes land use clianges and contributes to growth within this uiban/suburban
tianspoitation corrrdor.

MDT would contmue to coordinate fiiture projects with tire pubhc and other appropriate
agencies, complete a review of potential impacts to the environment, and identify requirements
for mitigation of any adverse effects as projects are developed and implemented.

Futiire growtii m the vicinity of Canyon Ferry Road, Lewis and Clark County, or adjoining
countres would hkely be driven by factors otiier tiian improvmg tliis section of Canyon Ferry
Road. Such factors are primarily related to the national and global economic conditions and tiie
price of energy. For tiiese reasons, rt rs impossible to piedict what types of impacts might occur.
It is certain tiiat such development, should it occur, would happen independently of the Canyon
Ferry Road reconstmction project.

Planned Projects by Federal Agencies in the Area. Projects underway or proposed by
federal agencies in the vicinity of the Canyon Ferry Road project corridor were also reviewed to
help assess tiie potential for cumulatrve impacts.

■ Canyon Ferry Reservoir Resource Management Plan/Environmeiital Assessment.

The U.S. Department of the Interior-Bureau of Reclamation recently completed
tiie combined Resource Management Plan/Envnomiiental Assessment (RMP/EA) to
establish a 1 0-year management framework for conserving, protecting, enhancing,
developing and using the physical and biological resources at Canyon Feny Reservon
and its siurounding lands. Canyon Feny Dam and Reservon are located about 8 km (5
miles) east of the eastem temimus of tins proposed project and can be accessed fiom the
project area by S-430 and S-284 and other county roads. The Fmding of No Srgnrficant
Impact (FONSI) document for tiie RMP was srgned on February 7, 2003.


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

■ Cave Gulch Salvage Projec t. The Helena National Forest issued a Record of
Decision for an EIS on Xovember 1 , 2002 for timber harvesting and restoration activities
on National Forest lands northeast of Canyon Feny Reservoir burned by tlie Cave Gulch
Fire in 2000.

■ North Belts Travel Plan/Magpie Confederate Vegetation Restoration Project. T he

U.S. Forest Service-Helena National Forest and tlie U.S. Department of the
Interior-Bureau of Land Management aie in the piocess of preparing an EIS to
select preferred alternatives for travel management, vegetation tieahnent, and noxious
weed control in the 80,900 ha (199,860 acre) Noitli Belts Travel Plan/Magpie
Confederate Vegetation Restoration aiea. The area is located on federal lands located in
the north end of the Big Belt Mountains, including the Spokane Hills area east of the
Canyon Ferry Road project comdoi.

The EIS will recommend actions to: biing motoiized use mto balance with other
resources (elk security and water quality) wliile also protecting them; to move tlie
vegetation plant communities towards tlie mtegrated desired conditions, leduce fire
danger and restore balance to the grasslands and forests m the area; and to identify a
more aggressive, cost effective weed control program. A decision based on tlie EIS and
subsequent comments is expected during 2003.

None of these projects would be e:^ected to result in cmmilative effects because the projects are
not contiguous with tlie proposed work area on Canyon Feny Road and would not generally
occur at tlie same time. For these reasons, tlie cumulative environmental impacts of tliese
projects on the proposed Canyon Ferry Road project would be minor.

Planned Projects by Others In the Area. Projects underway or proposed by others in the
vicinity of the Canyon Feny Road project corridor were also reviewed to help assess tlie
potential for cimiulative impacts.

■ New Residential/Commercial Development. The lands in east Helena Valley, including
some lands immediately adjacent to tlie project comdoi continue to see commercial and
residential development. Currently, there are no known major subdivisions proposed for
tlie immediate project comdoi; however, some minor subdivision proposals contmue to
be received by tlie County in the general area. Phase I of tlie Holmberg Subdivision is
cuiTently m development and additional development phases may occur adjoinmg the
existing subdivision.

■ Helena Sand and Gravel Pit Development Helena Sand and Gravel owns property at
tlie nortlieast corner of Canyon Feny Road and Lake Helena Diive and intends to
ultimately develop a new gravel pit on the property. The timing of the new pit
development is uncertain but would occur when a decision is made to close tlie
company's existing pit located neai the west terminus of tins project. Tins development

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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 12 of 19)