What is an SEIS?
As described in Section 771.130 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document used to re-evaluate a previous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) when there is new information and/or changes to the proposed action could occur and result in significant environmental impacts. As the SEIS being prepared for HRCS will introduce up-to-date data and design assumptions and will reconsider different options to determine a preferred alternative, FHWA and VDOT are in agreement that an SEIS is the appropriate NEPA document for the HRCS.
Proposed improvements to the HRBT
The Draft EIS for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel demonstrated that the socioeconomic and historic resource impacts would be significant. VDOT and FHWA have concurred that any improvements considered in the HRCS SEIS for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel would be confined largely or entirely to the existing right of way.
Completion of the SEIS process
FHWA and VDOT have agreed that the study could be implemented through Phased Records of Decision (RODs). This approach allows the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization to properly document a smaller portion of the preferred alternative in its Long-Range Transportation Plan. This documentation allows VDOT to request a ROD from FHWA for an independent section of SEIS preferred alternative. In this manner, the project could advance more quickly to design and construction rather than waiting for funding for the entire project at one time. The Draft SEIS will identify proposed sections and seek public input on the order in which they should be implemented. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will identify the appropriate order for the sections to be implemented and this order will be documented in the Final SEIS. This technique is similar to what was used to implement the first segments of the Interstate 64 Peninsula Study EIS.
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