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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would generally transfer existing opeiations to a new location and would not be expected
to substantially mcrease traffic to or fiom the facility. Local tiafQc patterns m the area
could change since it may be nioie convenient for tnicks to use Lake Helena Drive to
access U.S. Highway 12 fiom tins new pit location.

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

None of these projects proposed by others, would be expected to result in cumulative effects.
This conclusion was made because the projects, witli the exception of sand and gravel pit
development, are not contiguous with the proposed work area on Canyon Feny Road and would
not generally occur at the same time. For these reasons, the cumulative environmental mipacts of
tliese projects on the proposed Canyon Ferry Road project would be mmor. The sand and gravel
pit development would be subject to Montana's air quality regulations and associated
environmental review process. This review would consider the potential cumulative
environmental impacts of simultaneous gravel pit and road constiuction in the same area.


Highway reconshnction activities associated vvdth the Canyon Feny Road project would cause
temporary inconveniences to the traveling public and to local residents. These inconveniences
may include slightly lor^er travel times, minor detours around work zones, temporary disruption
of access to residences or businesses, and the noise and dust generated by conshuction
equipment. These impacts could be expected to occur at various times throughout period (or
periods) required to constiuct the proposed highway improvements. Typical impacts associated
witli the constiuction are described below:

Noise and Vibration. The operations of heavy machinery hke eartli moving
equipment, paving equipment, power tools, and trucks would create periods of
undesirable noise in the project area. Noise due to construction activities would produce
short-term impacts for residents and business owners near the highway. Constiuction-
related noise may also temporarily displace some wildlife and bud species &om tlie area
or deter such species fiom using habitats in the vicinity of tlie roadway.

Dust. The operation of heavy equipment on dishirbed areas and highway users tiavehng
through work zones or on detours without paved surfaces could produce dust.

Water Quality. Runoff horn disturbed surface areas has a minor potential to enter
surface waters or wetlands and adversely affect water quality. Petroleum products and
other materials could be spilled duiiug tlie operation and mamtenance of equipment
needed to build the new highway facilities.

Visual. Stockpiles of materials and equipment needed for the constniction of the new
bridge and roadway may cause shoit-term adverse impacts for local residents and otliers
passing through the project area.

Traffic. The proposed project would be built "under traffic" meaning that travel through
work zones would be allowed during constiuction. MDT will prepare a traffic conhol
plan to ensure that tiaffic flows tliiough tlie project area are maintained in a safe and
efficient manner and that access to adjacent businesses, residences, and agricultural lands
is provided during tlie constiuction period. The traffic control plan may require tlie use of
temporary detours, occasional delays, and tlie use of flaggers or pilot cars to guide traffic

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

tlirough work zones.

The contractor for the project would be required to identify and develop any necessary borrow
Sites for fill material. Needed materials would have to be trucked fioiu boiTow sites to work
zones. This could cause a minor increase m truck traffic on Canyon Ferry Road and any other
area roads used for travel to and fiom bonow sites.

Mitiqatincj Measures (Construction Impacts)

Construction unpads will be mitigated through the implementation and enforcement of contiol
measmes dui'mg constiuction such as:

■ Dust generated by construction activities will be controlled by the required use of
either water or approved dust suppressant.

■ Best management practices will be employed to prevent sediments from reaching
the area surface waters or wetlands.

■ The contractor will develop a public involvement plan to keep the public aware of
construction related activities.

■ Temporary or permanent seeding and mulching will be used to control erosion of
disturbed areas.

■ The contractor will be required to have a plan for implementing appropriate
measures in the event of an accidental spill.

■ All work related to the proposed Canyon Ferry Road project would be subject to
the provisions included in the current edition of Standard Specifications for Road
and Bridge Construction as adopted by MDT and the Montana Transportation

Impacts of the No Action Alternative. The only construction impacts associated with this
alternative would be related to tiie completion of minor maintenance activities on the existing
roadway and its related facihties. Maintenance actions have the potential to create luinor
teiuporary and localized impacts such as noise fiom equipment, delays or detours, and surface


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

Environmental Assessment


The No Build Alternative would not require any permits. However, tlie proposed Canyon Feny
Road reconstruction project would requue the following permits to be obtained prior to any
relevant disturbances:

Section 402/ Montana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (MPDES)
Permit. The project would be in compliance witli the CleanWaterAct (33 U.S.C.
1251 - 1376) - Section 402/Montm\a Pollutant Dischar'ge Elimination System.
Accordingly, MDT would submit a Notice of Intent (NOl) package to MDEQ's
Permittmg and Compliance Division for coverage under tlie MPDES "General Permit for
Storm Water Discharges Associated with Constniction Activity. " This permitting process
would serve only as a notice of intent to discharge, rather tlian a submittal for agency
review or approval of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Secf/on 404 Permit. A CleanWaterAct (33 V.S.C. 1251 - 1376) - Section 404
permit from the COE vvdll be required for the placement of fill or excavation in delineated
jurisdictional wetlands and "Waters of the US" associated with the installation of new
replacement culverts or bridges. The COE will determine if this proposed project
qualifies for a "Nationwide" permit under tlie provisions of 30 CFR330 .

124SPA Permit. A 124SPA Permit as required under the Montana Stream Protection
Act for a minor channel modification at No Name Spring Creek and new culvert
installations and related work m both No Name Spring Creek and Spokane Creek.

Floodplain Development Permit. A fioodplain development permrt fiom Lewis and
Clark County wrll be required for any work witliin delineated 1 00-year fioodplains within
file Canyon Feny Road project area.

Additionally, MDT must coordmate this proposed project with the U.S. Department of
Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and secme an agreement to enter on lands administered by
tiie agency and to build new highway bridges across tiie Helena Valley Canal at two locations
and to relocate a short section of the canal. A Constructron Authorization Contiact from the
Bureau would be required prior to approval of tiie project.


Canyon Ferry Road

STPS430-if5J V Control No. 4480

Environmental Assessment



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

Environmental Assessment

V. Coordination with Others

This Part summarizes efforts undertaken by MDT to coinmunicate with interested agencies and
the pubhc about the proposed lirghway rmprovements within the Canyon Ferry Road project
coiTidor Road Corridor. The specific objectives of the activities performed to coordinate this
project are to:

identify and include people, groups, and agencies that may be affected;

provide opportunities for interested parties to express their views, ideas, and concerns

about the project;

ensure that interested parties receive understandable project information; and

make it apparent to all interested parties that tiieir opinions and ideas have been

considered during the development of the project.

A. Agency Coordination


Representatives of MDT and the FHWA are developing the proposed Canyon Ferry Road
reconstruction project under Montana's Surface Transportation Program (STP). Lewis and Clark
County is a Cooperating Agency on tins proposed project due to its jurisdiction and ownership of
Canyon Feny Road and other county roads intersecting tiie route. Meetings to discuss
preliminary design plans for tiiis proposed hrghway reconstructron project were held wrth Lewis
and Clark County during the development of this environmental document.


Coordination witii permitting and resource agencies lias informally occurred during the
development of the project tiirough correspondence requesting comments and/or needed
information. The following agencres and parties were consulted during the development of this
Environmental Assessment:

Federal Highway Adminrstiatron (FHWA)

U.S. Department of Agricultiire, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

U.S. Frsh and Wildlife Servrce (USFWS)

U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)

U.S. AiiTiy Corps of Engmeers (COE)

U.S. Postal Sei-vice

Montana Departinent of Commerce (MDOC)

Montana Departinent of Envuomnental Quahty (MDEQ)

Montana Departinent of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MDFWP)

Montana State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)

Montana State Lrbrary, Natural Heritage Program (MNHP)

Helena Valley Irrigation Drstrrct


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

Environmental Assessment

B. Public Involvement Activities


Robert Peccia & Associates (RPA) personnel contacted property owners along tlie highway and
tliose adjacent to the Spokane Creek Road intersection in June 2001 to notify tliem about tlie
proposed plans to reconstruct Canyon Ferry Road and to obtain right-of- entry approval to
perform preliminary field investigations. Contacts with tliese property owners were made by
personal contact, direct mail and telephone.

Relevant federal, state and county agencies were notified in July and August 200 1 about the
pioposed reconsfiiiction plans and were asked to respond with their comments.

MDT prepared and distributed an initial news release about planned reconstruction of Canyon
Ferry Road on June 8, 2001 . The release was distributed to the Helena Independent Record,
KBLL Radio and KCAP Radio. The one page statement noted tire proposed project's location,
summary of anticipated work and schedule, requested comments and provided pomts of contact
for information. A copy of the news release can be viewed m APPENDIX C .

Inlieuof publishing the requested news release, a reporter fiom the Helena Independent Record
interviewed RPA's Project Manager to prepare a featiire story about the project. The fi:ont-page
article, "Canyon Ferry Road to be Redesigned" was published on June 12, 2001. Acopy of the
article is provided in APPENDIX C.

The Helena Independent Record followed up on its initial article witii a second story on August
2, 2001 entitled, "MDT: Road in Good Shape, But Could Use Some Improvements." This article
liiglilighted tire intent to redesign and reconstiuct the highway. This aiticle can also be found in

Three newsletters describing tire location of the project, its purpose, schedule and potential
impacts were distributed to property owners and businesses withm the com dor, federal, state,
county and local agencies and other interested parties. The intioductoiy newsletter was
distributed in October 2001 and follow-up issues were distributed in March 2002 and May 2002.
Copies of tiie newsletters are included m APPENDIX C.

A post card updating interested parties on the statiis of the project and EA was issued in February


A public information meetmg about this proposed project was held on November 14, 2001 at the
R.H. Radley School gymnasium in East Helena to advise the public about its scope and potential
impacts. The meeting's intent was to give the public the opportunity to discuss project issues,
help MDT's consulting engineers identify potential social, economic, and envuomnental impacts,
and obtain input on desired roadway features. In addition, the meeting sign-m sheet allowed the
consultant to update the direct mailing list of interested people, property owners and businesses.

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

Notification of the scoping meeting was published in the Helena Independent Record on
November 2 and November 1 1 , 200 1 . Property owners, interested citizens, and involved
agencies weie also notified of tlie meeting intent, time, date and location tliiough tlie distribution
of tlie first project newsletter.

An open-house meeting was held fi'om 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The meeting had a table positioned
at tire entiance, setup with sign-in sheets, comment forms, pens, half-size aerial photos witii
conceptual design features, and roadway sections for the attendees review and comment. A
comment form diop box was also on tire table to ease collection of the forms should attendees
complete their comments by tire end of the meeting. Aeiial photos were displayed which
allowed participants to walk tiiiough the entire project durmg tiie open house. Displays showing
the existing liighway, possible designs, and roadside features were also available for review.

The consultant gave a formal presentation at 7:00 p.m., describing the scope of the project,
outiining the schedule, and encouraging comments from tire public on project-related issues. An
open discussion about the project took place after the piesentation and MDT staff and its design
consultant fielded comments durir^ a question and answer session. Sign-m sheets fiom the
meeting showed 60 people attended the open-house sessions, including agency and consultant


As a result of early project notifications, landowner contacts, and the public open house meeting,
MDT's design consultant collected neaily 140 public comments onthepioposedpioject. These
comments were collected fiom a variety of sources including: 1) comments retimied with iight-
of-entry forms; 2) letters; 3) emails and phone calls, personal interviews; and comments
submitted at 01 following the Novembei 14, 2001 public meeting. The pubHc comments leceived
ranged fiom concerns about the new road's design to landscaping and right-of-way issues. The
following table displays the distribution of public comments by general subject at that time.

Major Subject of Comment # of Comments Received

Travel Speed/ Safety 24

Pedestnan/Bicycle Facilities 10

Landscaping & R/W Acquisition 3 1

Alternative Designs/Engmeermg 53

Planning/Development 36

Spokane Creek Road Intersection 5

Comments within tiie category of Travel Speed/Safety mdicated or were of the opinion that:

• Tlie existing road in the developed residential/commercial ai'ea between Wylie Drive aiid Lake Helena
Drive cmrently exhibits travel speeds too high for the level of development aiid number of road
intersections and private approaches/driveways.

• Tlie proposed project will widen the road and improve geometries, likely encouraging motorists to drive
faster. How will the project address possible travel speed increases?

• If the improved road encroaches into the roadside development, will it create new safety concerns?


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

Those with comments about Pedestrian/Bicycle Facilities suggested that:

• Wider shoulders or paths for bicyclists, aiid sidewalks or paths for pedestrians aud children should be
included for safety reasons in the residential/commercial section.

• The combination of vehicle speeds and proposed road widening need would make it difficult for
pedestrians to cross the highway. What measures will be implemented to make pedestrian crossing easier
and safer?

• The need for safe bicycle movement should be addressed in the new design throughout the project corridor.

• The project should accommodate bicycles and pedestrians, but minimize additional right-of-way

More than thirty people submitted comments about Landscaping and Right of Way Acquisition
witli comments Irke these below.

• utility relocations should be underground in the residential/commercial ai'ea as mitigation for additional
right-of-w^ay acquisition and property encroachment.

• Right-of-way acquisition in the residential/commercial section should be minimized. Propeity owners aie
rehictant to relinquish properly for right-of-way just to widen the road for piojected traffic increases.

• There is a concern on how the road widening will compliment their yards in the residential/commercial
section. Tlie lack of clean-iip after past work on communication utilities within the easement, but adjacent
to theii' propeity, left the propeity owners upset and waiy.

• The removal of mature shiTibbeiy and trees should be minimized. This is not a question of cost to replace,
but difficulty in maintaining what they have developed and the length of time to develop the growth.

• Initial right-of-way acquisition in the rural section should consider the potential for future grovrth in the
ai'ea. Once niral propeity is subdivided and developed, fiiture right-of-way acquisition for the road will be
more costly and impact more people than at the present.

The subject that recerved the largest share of comments. Alternative Designs/Engineering,
generated the following suggestrons:

• The project should consider the use of roundabouts in analysis of major intersections.

• Consideration be given to relocating mailboxes for safety, either onto approaches or into mailbox clusters
located at pullouts.

• Substantial public support exists for traffic signal installations at major intersections.

• Traffic calming devices or measures should be considered to reduce operating speed on the road.

• Constniction of a curb and gutter section would reduce right-of-way acquisition and mitigate road widening
in the residential/commercial area.

Comments about Planning and Development included the following tlioughts:

• The new road should be designed to accommodate the growth and development anticipated to occur in the
niral section.

• Reconstnicting the road should be accomplished nnder one contiact. If re const™ ct ion requires phasing due
to funding constraints, the Spokane Creek Road intersection and the residential/commercial ai'ea should be
rebuilt during the earliest phase.

• The reconstniction will not address the greater issue of continued growth, and lack of suitable east-west
routes through the valley.

The Spokane Creek Road Intersection was the topic for fifteen public comments mcluding:

• Reconstructing the intersection should be accomplished at the earliest possible date.

• Alternative designs and layouts for the intersection should be considered.


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

Environmental Assessment

MDT considered all of these comments to vaiious degrees dming tlie development of the
proposed reconshiiction plans for Canyon Feixy Road and in tlie development of the EA.
Various sections of the EA discuss tlie majority of the comments simimarized above. Some
design measures or suggestions cannot be miplemented due to funding limitations.


A second public meeting on the project was held at East Helena's R.H. Radley School on June 3,
2002 to present its findings foi design and alignment alternatives. The meeting followed tlie
same format as the November 14, 2001 meeting with an afternoon open-house session and an
evenir^ presentation witli question and answer session. About 75 people attended the public
meetings. MDT and its design consultant were available to discuss the proposed project witli the
pubhc throughout the afternoon and evening sessions.

The evening session began with a presentation on the proposed highway reconstiiiction project's
status and an explanation of the need foi tlie project. The presentation also discussed project
alternatives and preferred treatments based on the issues pieviously identified foi tiie pioject.
Handouts and displays illustiating design options under consideration and prefeiied designs were
made available to those attending.

Comments received as a result of the June 3, 2002 public meeting included written comment
foims and letters. Forty-siKVvTittencommentsweie received after the meeting. Many of tiie
comments reiterated previous concerns. Howevei, there were additional comments received
about potential effects of highway reconstruction on septic systems, drainfields and landscaping.

A dozen comments were received suppoiting tiie pioposed configuration and improvements at
tiie Canyon Feiiy Road/Spokane Creek Road intersection. Several new issues or concerns were
expressed at tiie June 3 meeting including: requests for a fiashing yellow light at the Lake Helena
Drive intersection, which was recentiy installed, and tiie immediate installation of mail box
banks and a tuin lane at Holmbeig Estates subdivision.


MDT's design consultant has been accessible to discuss the proposed reconstruction pioject with
affected landovmers and otiiei inteiested parties. To date, more than ten mdividual meetings with
property ovmers have been held to provide up-to-date information about tiie project, discuss
ways to minimize right-of-way impacts, and to discuss assistance available fiom MDT to those
who may be relocated by the proposed project.


A Notice of Availability of the Environmental Assessment and planned date for a Public Heaiii'^
on the Canyon Ferry Road project vvill be sent to all parties on the mailing list and advertised in
local newspapers following FHWA's approval of this document.


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

The notice of availability of tlie EA and the document itself will also be posted on Robert Peccia
& Associates website ( witli a link from MDT's webpage

Duiing tlie public review and comment period, a pubhc hearing — similar m format to tlie
previous two publrc meetings — will be held. The date of tlie public hearing will be advertised at
least fifteen (15) days m advance of the meeting.

At the public hearing, the general public will be given the opportunity to provide both oral and
written comments on the proposed action. Written comments will be received on the docmnent
for at least thirty (30) days following its initial distiibution and public availabihty. Pubhc and
agency comments on this document received by MDT will be evaluated to determme: 1) whether
significant impacts will occiu' fiom the implementation of the Piefened Action; 2) if fuitiier
consideration of tire impacts discussed in the docmnent is needed; and 3) if new issues have
arisen tiiat must be addiessed in the Environmental Assessment. After the close of the official
comment period, comments received on tiie document wih be reviewed and tiie text of the
Environmental Assessment will be modified as required.

If no significant impacts are identified, MDT will submit the revised Environmental Assessment
to FHWA and request that the agency make a Fmdtng of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The
FONSl will then be attached to the Environmental Assessment.

If significant impacts are found, then MDT and FHWA must determme if an Enviromiiental
Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared to advance the proposed Canyon Feny Road project.

Additional planned public involvement activities include personal meetings with property
owners to discuss the project's proposed access management plan, and how tiie plan and each
property owner's access needs will be implemented.


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

Environmental Assessment

C. Distribution List for Document

The following agencies, groups, and individuals are being sent a copy of this Envrronmental



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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 13 of 19)