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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guidelines set forth in tins document. New accesses, subdivisions, oi changes in use would be
required to meet tiie guidelines. Exceptions to the guidelines may be made on a case-by-case
basis upon leview by state and local officials. MDT would administer tiie Access Management
Plan and be responsible for all decisions on access requests.


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

Environmental Assessment


New right-of-way would be required over the length of the project corridor to build the proposed
liighway improvements. The design of the Prefened Action would attempt to limit new nght-of
way acquisition needs. Temporary construction permits would be used to build geneially non-
critical improvements (like slope adjustments) beyond the permanent right-of-way for the

Overhead powei line crossings, cable television, and underground telephone lines or other
utilities in conflict with the proposed highway reconstruction would be relocated.

Prescriptive, temporary, or peiinanent easements for existing liighway right-of-way may be
abandoned by MDT as a result of the proposed improvements to Canyon Ferry Road. In these
instances, the easements would revert to underlying landowners. However, according to 23 CFR
710.403 fc) and (d), if any lights-of-way are held in fee and were previously acquired vvdth
federal liighway funding, MDT must complete an environmental document and seek fail' maiket
value for sale of the excess property. If a public benefit can be shown, sale by MDT can be at
less tlian market value.


Fencing. The Preferred Action would replace existing fencing impacted by the proposed
liighway construction. MDT would coordinate fencing needs with affected landowneis during
tlie right-of-way negotiation and design phases of the project.

Landscaping. Landscaping, other than applying topsoil, seed and fertilizei along tlie roadway
isnotproposedaspart of the Preferred Action. However, MDT would work with the owners of
residential or commercial properties along Canyon Feriy Road to remedy potential impacts to
existing landscaping that may result fiom tlie proposed construction project. Remedies could
include moving affected landscape features, providing similar replacement landscaping, or
providing financial compensation to landowners for impacts. MDT provides fau maiket value
for landscaping impacted by its constniction projects. However, landscapmg impacts are
consideied by tlieu overall effect on a property parcel latliei tlian by tlie nunibei of affected
individual trees or shrubs.

IVIailboxes. Cmrently, roadside mail delivery only occurs to boxes located on the north side of
tlie Inghway. Consultation is ongoing witli postal authoiities in Helena and East Helena
regarding mailbox locations and possible route delivery clianges along Canyon Feiry Road.
However, it is certain tliat roadside mail delivery would contmue in some manner and would
likely be enhanced witli the proposed project.

The proposed project would provide shouldersof sufficient width in the lural section to provide
for roadside delivery witliout adding special pullouts. In other areas (especially m the
commercial/residential section) of the coiridor, coordination with postal authorities is ongoing to


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

help identify measmes to increase safety by providing mailboxes on both sides of tlie liighway.
This would eliminate tlie need for about half of the postal patrons to cross tlie liighway to
retrieve their mail. In locations where marl is delivered to subdivrsions, mailbox banks vv'ould be
relocated fiom the Canyon Ferxy Road shoulder to the subdivisron's approach. This would
enhance the safety of both patrons and delivery personnel by removing them from tlnough

Stockpasses/Cattlequards. One stockpass beneath tlie liighway and a stock bridge across
tlie Helena Valley Canal exist vidthin the project corrrdor. The stockpass, located east of Hart
Lane (near RP 7.5), would be maintamed at this locatron and replaced vvdth a similar structure
beneath the reahgned liighway due to its fi'equent use and the lack of stock water on the nortli
srde of Canyon Ferry Road. The exrsting stockpass would Irkely be replaced with a 2400mm
(about 96 mches) diameter corrugated steel pipe stockpass.

Efforts would be made to avord the existing timbei stock bridge located south of the highway
and Helena Valley Canal Bridge (near RP 4.77). However, if the stock bridge cannot be avorded
due to road reconstruction, a replacement stincture would be provided in tiie same vicimty.

Irrigation Systems. Eleven irrigation crossmgs consrsting of canals, srphons, and prpes
curxentiy convey iiiigation water across Canyon Ferxy Road withm the limits of the proposed
project. Abandonment of any of these crossmgs rs not feasible based on the cunent water rights,
and the use of tiie crossings. Therefore, all eleven irrigation crossings would be maintained with
file existing structures or replaced vvdth new stiiictures under tliis proposed project.

MDT would also ensure tiiat rmpacts to existing irrrgation systems (e.g. pivot irrigatron and otiier
types of watering systems), would be adequately mitigated through contacts and coordination
witii affected landowners.

Additionally, relocation of a short section of the Helena Valley Canal is necessary along the
south side of the hrghway near RP 2.3 east of Wylie Drive to accommodate the proposed
roadway features and to ensure the canal does not present a hazard to highway users. A new
easement for the relocated sectron of tiie canal must be acqmred fiom the adjoming
landowner(s). As mdicated by tiie letters that can be found in APPENDIX B, a signiflcant
amount of coordination about tiie proposed relocation of the Helena Valley Canal has been
already occurred witii the Bureau of Reclamation and the Helena Valley Irrigation District.
Fuitiier coordinatron regarding tiirs proposed canal shift and its design must occur' witii these
involved parties.


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

Environmental Assessment

P. Design Options Considered But Rejected

other design options for the commercial/residential sectron of the Canyon Ferry Road comdor
were considered duiing tlie development of the Preferred Action. These options and the reasons
why they were dropped fi'om consideration are discussed below.


Dming scopir^ activities for the EA and early project meetings, various roadside features that
could be incorporated with the design of tlie new load between Wylie Drive and Lake Helena
Drive were presented to tlie public. These features included sidewalks, boulevaids, and multi-use
path with boulevard.

Public reactions to incorporating a minimal width sidewalk immediately beliind the back of
roadside curb were mixed. Comments suggested that little demand for sidewalks exists because
the area does not currently receive much pedestrian activity and there aie really no destinations
in the aiea encouraging pedestrian travel. Further, the project area lacks any connections to
other sidewalks or paths to East Helena.

The option of providing a 1 .525 m (5-foot) sidewalk separated from tlie road by a 1 .525 m (5-
foot) wide boulevard along botli sides Canyon Feny Road between Wylie Drive and Lake
Helena Drive was dropped &om consideration. The principal reason for eliminating this feature
fioiii consideration was tlie need for substantially expanding the right-of-way and associated
impacts to adjoining property owners. Other factors including mamtenance obligations, snow
removal concerns, overall installation costs, loss of tlie semi-niral appearance of the area, and
safety concerns for pedestrians adjacent to traffic were considered before the decision was made
to drop sidewalks fi'om this pioposed pioject.

For similar reasons, incorporating a 2.4 m (8-foot) wide multi-use patii with a 1 .525 m (5-foot)
wide boulevard along one or both sides of the new road was dropped.

Public comments botii suppoited and opposed the mclusion of tiiese roadsrde features. Although
tiiese featiires would enhance the appearance and use of the roadway comdoi, the majorrty of
landowners alor^ Canyon Ferxy Road listed minimizing right-of-way acquisitron and assocrated
property impacts as tiieir highest priority concern for the project. Therefore, due to potentral
right-of-way impacts, lack of pubhc consensus, constRiction costs, and tiie probability of
substantially liigher costs associated with the necessary right-of-way acquisition, the options of
incorporating boulevards and separated sidewalks or multi-use paths were elmimated fiom


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

Environmental Assessment

E. Location Alternatives Considered But



Reconstiuctmg Canyon Ferry Road following tlie existing centerline through the niral section of
tlie corridor was eliminated fi'oin consideration because the new road near would unduly
encroach on many developed land uses on the nortli side of the route including a major
residential subdivision. The increased surface width of the road, flatter roadside slopes and
reconstnicted ditches would make the new road considerably wider than tlie existing facihty that
has no shoulders, limited cuts and fills, and steep roadside ditches. The most notable effects of
reconstniction following tlie existing highway's centerline would be experienced by the
numerous residents and developed properties lying immediately noitli of tlie present highway.

Another important reason for rejectmg tliis alternate alignment was the need to maintain traffic
flows on tins locally important travel route dming tiie construction period. Maintaining traffic
on the road during constiuction is an e:^ensive proposition tiiat can lead to conflicts and safety
issues. Since the contiactor would be obhgated to nunimize delays to motorists, significant
amounts of time, effort and cost would have to be devoted to maintainir^ a passable road surface
in the corridor and contiolling tiaffic within work zones should the highway be constiucted
following the existing alignment. The preferred sequencmg of work actrvities could be affected
by building tiie new road on the existing centerhne and having to maintain traffic through the
work zone. Conflicts would inevitably arise between tlnough traffic, constiuction personnel, and
tiie operationof constructron equipment rfthe road were rebuilt following the existing centerline.
Therefore, notable concerns for the safety of construction personnel and tiie tiaveling pubhc
exist with this alternative.


It would be possible to reconstruct Canyon Ferry Road on an ahgnment shifted to tiie nortii of
tiie existing road fiom east of tiie Helena Valley Canal (about RP 4.8) to Hart Lane (RP 7.1).
However, thrs alignment option was eliminated ftom consrderation because shrfting the
alignment would impact large numbers of existing niral residences and would affect future
development in new residential subdivrsions (most notably Holmberg Village Estates) located
imiiiediately north of tiie lirghway. Most land to the south side of Canyon Ferry Road in thrs
portion of the corridor is currentiy vacant agricultiiral land. Shrfting the alignment towards
existing and planned developments and impacting many residents when the road could be built
elsewhere with far fewer effects was viewed as an unacceptable action.

-41 -

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

Environmental Assessment


Reconstiuction of tlie road through the commercial/residential section of the corridor could be
accomplished using an offset alignment. However, alignments shifting Canyon Ferry Road's
location eitliei north or south of tlie present centeiline in the built-up commercial/residential
section have been eliminated. Unlike tlie rural section in which an alignment shift is beneficial
to limit impacts to nmnerous residential properties and provides the additional benefit of limiting
conflicts between liighway users and constiuction personnel and equipment, a sliift in the
alignment's centerline in tiie commercial/residential section would heighten impacts. The intent
of placing tiie new aligranent nearly on top of the old m the preferred treatment is to balance
impacts equally to properties left and right of centeiline, each of which are comparable in the
level of development to one another.

Substantial ahgnment shifts in tins segment would result in otiierwise avoidable total property
acquisitions due to tire proximity of homes and development to the existing right-of-way.
Building tiie new highway in tins segment following the existmg centeiline as proposed would
necessitate considerable traffic control during constRiction. Howevei, these tempoiaiy impacts
were judged to be unavoidable and far less severe when compared to tiie permanent light-of-way
impacts associated with reconstiiicting Canyon Ferry Road on an offset ahginnent through this
section of the project coiiidor.

F. Other Layouts Considered for the Canyon
Ferry Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection

The intersection of Canyon Ferry Road and Spokane Creek Road is significantiy skewed, located
on a curve, has steep grades on all appioaches, and has sight distance restrictions due to its
geometiic layout. Canyon Ferry Road west of Spokane Creek Road joins the intersection on a
steep (10%) grade and witlun tiie midst of a sharp curve. The intersection is cunentiy
configured so tiaffic on Canyon Ferry Road east of the intersection and on Spokane Creek Road
is not reqmied to stop. Eastbound tiaffic on Canyon Feixy Road must stop at tiie inteisection.
Recent studies have shown that about 70% of the tiaffic that passes tiuough this mtersection
turns ftom or onto Canyon Ferry Road. Additionally, tiie intersection has a significant long-term
history of motor vehicle crashes. These geometric deficiencies and operational problems mdicate
a need to leconfiguie the intersection.

Intersection Alternates Considered. Reconfiguring the mtersection to address identified
concerns would involve major alterations to the geometiic layout of this intersection and changes
to the grades on one or more approaches to tiie intersection. Such clianges have the potentral to
impact adjacent residences, at least one business, and a portion of the Helena Valley Canal. For
this reason, detailed studies of alternate layouts for the intersection were undertaken during
preliminary design activities. Foui' intersection alternates (including the proposed configuration
discussed witii tiie Piefeired Action, were developed and analyzed in detail.

These other alternates were developed based on the following general desrgn concepts:


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

Environmental Assessment

closely following tlie existing highway corridor wliile still meetii^ tiie minimum
cuiTent design criteria to acliieve the project's purpose and need,

maintaining Canyon Ferry Road as stop-controlled at the intersection with
Spokane Creek Road and shifting the intersection south of its piesent location to
achieve desirable sight distance and improved approach designs for other
intersecting roads; and

shifhng Canyon Ferry Road north of its present alignment and reconfiguring
Spokane Creek Road as a stop-contioUed intersection.

Descriptions of the specific design alternates considered for the Canyon Ferry Road/Spokane
Creek Road intersection are provided below. FIGURE 6 illustiates each of tiiese alternate
intersection configuiations.

Alternate 1 This Alternate would reconstruct Canyon Ferry Road on a new alignment similar
to the existing liighway but offset slightly to tiie soutii of the present road. The
objective of tins alternate design was to closely follow the existmg corridor wliile
attempting to minimize impacts to residences and still meet the minimum cuixent
design criteria. To revise tiie intersection so Canyon Ferry Road is the "through
route," Spokane Creek Road would join Canyon Feiiy Road in a stop-conti' oiled
"T" configuration slightly west of the Glass Slipper.

Alternate 2 This Alternate would shift Canyon Feny Road south of tiie present roadway to
intersect witii Spokane Creek Road in a "T" mtersection. The new intersection
would be located about 220 m (720 feet) south of tiie existing highway. The
objective of Alternate 2 was to identify an alternate alignment tiiat was removed
fiom the residential and commercial development near the present intersection.
This alternate would require Canyon Feny Road to contmue as the stop-
contioUed leg of the mtersection. While this would not accommodate the
predominant east-west tiaffic flow and movements at the mtersection, the
alternate offers considerable opportiinities to improve geometric conditions over
the existing mtersection.

Alternate 3 Alternate 3 would shift Canyon Ferry Road about 60 m (200 feet) to the nortii
(Preferred) in the area west of the existing intersection. Spokane Creek Road would intersect
Canyon Feny Road m a stop-contiolled "T" configuration west of tiie Glass
Slipper. The objective of this alternate is to reconstruct Spokane Creek Road as
the stop-contiolled leg of the mtersection and connect to tiie present roadway east
of tiie intersection with as few alignment clianges as possible.

Alternate 4 This Alternate is similar to Alternate 3 except that the proposed Canyon Ferry

Road alignment would be shifted even fiutiier to the nortii by providing one long
sweeping horizontal curve. The alternate would provide the prefened treatment of
reconstructing the Spokane Creek Road as tiie stop-contiolled leg of the
intersection. Alternate 3 attempts to sluft the new road and intersection away fiom


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

most of the residential and commercial development that exists neai' tlie present

Two options were also considered for reconstructing Spokane Creek Road as tlie stop-controlled
leg of the new intersectron. One option would reconstruct and upgrade the current "cut across"
roadlocatedimmediately west of the Glass Slipper. A second option was developed tliat would
move the Spokane Creek Road intersection west to join Canyon Ferry Road east of Spokane
Creek. This option was considered in an attempt to eliminate associated impacts to developed
properties in the area.

The various intersection layouts were presented for comment at public meetings on the project
and discussed dming indivrdual meetings wrth affected landowners. Public and landowner
comments on tlie intersectron options were discussed witli the staff from Lewrs and Clark
County and used to refine each alternate layout if necessary.

Evaluation of Alternates. A tliorough engineering and envuomnental review of each
alternate was completed to help identify a preferred layout for the Canyon Ferxy Road/Spokane
Creek Road intersection. Preliminary designs for Alternates 1 through 4 were prepared and used
to establish the hkely limits of construction and gauge right-of-way needs. The preliminary
designs also helped assess the overall operatron and enviromnental effects for each of the
alternate mtersectron layout. TABLE 5 presents a comparison of the engineering considerations
and notable enviromnental effects of tlie alternate configurations for the Canyon Ferry
Road/Spokane Creek Road intersection.

Intersection Alternates Eiiminated from Consideration. Alternates 1 , 2, and 4 were
eliminated fi'oni consideration for geometric desrgn reasons, concerns over the creation of new
operatronal problems at the intersection, and tlieu nimimal differences in right-of-way and
relocation impacts when compared to Alternate 3, the preferred mtersection layout. Due to the
undesirable configuratron, operational problems and extensive accident history associated vvdth
tlie existing intersection, MDT and Levvds and Clark County have placed a lirgli priority on
improving traffic operations and safety in the vicinity of Canyon Ferry Road and Spokane Creek
Road. In short. Alternates 1 , 2, and 4 were rejected because they failed to provide a design for
tlie new intersectron that was judged to be as safe (or safer) than the ahgnment proposed as part
of tlie Preferred Action.

The reasons Alternate 3 is preferred over the otlier intersection alternates are simunarized below:

Alternate 3 would incorporate one horizontal cmve to replace the four sharp
cui"ves associated witli the present roadway ahgnment at the intersection.

The grade of Canyon Ferry Road under Alternate 3 would be substantially
improved over existing conditions. The roadway can be developed to more
closely match existing terrain as compared to Alternate 2.


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

Environmental Assessment
















































Figure 6:

Alternate Alignments Considered
For the Canyon Ferry Road/
Spokane Creek Road Intersection


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

The superelevation (banking) of the proposed curve with Alternate 3 is flatter
(4%) than the curves associated with the exrsting mtersectron or Alternate 1 .
Alternate 1 , which requires sharper and more steeply banked curves, is not
favorable to realigning the Spokane Creek Road mtersectron.

The intersection would be reconfigured into a preferable "T" intersection with
Spokane Creek Road being the stop-contioUed leg of tlie intersectron.
Intersection and stopping sight distances meet or exceed desrrable values.

Sliiftmg tlie alignment of Canyon Feny Road north of its present location allows
more flexibility and options for connections wdtli Spokane Creek Road than
Alternate 1 .

Fewer impacts to agricultural propertres and operatrons would be e:^ected from
Alternate 3 as compared to Alternate 2.

The "T" intersection locations for Spokane Creek Road and other roads would
generally lie on flatter grades and be located witliin a tangent (straight) sectron
witli a normal crown as compared to Alternate 1 . Veliicles turning off Canyon
Feiiy Road onto Spokane Creek Road would not have to negotrate tlie cross-slope
bankmg in horizontal curves associated with Alternates 1 and 4. The Ken Lane
intersection can be situated at a favorable location wrth Alternate 3.

Alternate 3 would accommodate tlie provrsion of a left turn lane for westbound
traffic wrthout creating additional rmpacts to resrdences. Addmg a turn lane with
Alternate 1 would affect one more residence than Alternate 3 and would impact a
business located near tiie intersection.

Access management oppoitunities increase with Alternate 3 as compared to
Alternate 1 . Approaches can be more easrly combmed and grades improved by
shiflmg Canyon Ferry Road's ahgnment to the north.

Offsettmg tiie ahgnment as proposed in Alternate 3 would require less traffic
contiol durmg constiuctron tiian Alternate 1 .

Alternate 4 would reqmre higher fills and deeper cuts than Alternate 3. Alternate
4 would require affect different propertres but would still have tiie same overall
relocation effects. Alternate 4 would have a less favorable alignment than
Alternate 3 at the Spokane Creek crossing.

INSERT TABLE 5-7 pages (separate file in this directory)


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

Environmental Assessment

Table 5: Comparison of Environmental Effects of
Preferred Action Versus Other Alternates Considered for
Canyon Ferry Road/Spokane Creek Road Intersection

Alternate Intersection Configurations

Alternate 1

Alternate 2

Alternate 3
"Preferred Action"

Alternate 4

Right-of-way Effects

New right-of-way needed
throughout project.

This aiternate wouid acquire
the least amount of
acquisition of new right-of-
way beyond the existing

New right-of-way needed
throughout project. While
this aiternate would impact
the ieast number of
residences, crossing the
"bottomland" of Spol<ane
Creels wouid require the
acquisition of substantial

1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

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 5 of 19)