Environmental statements; notice of intent: Travis and Williamson Counties, TX,


[Federal Register: September 11, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 176)]


[Page 48784]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Federal Highway Administration

Environmental Impact Statement: Travis and Williamson Counties, TX

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.

SUMMARY: The FHWA is issuing this notice to advise the public that the scope (project limits) of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed State Highway 45 project in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas, will be revised. This notice amends the NOI for proposed State Highway 45 that was published in the Federal Register on October 31, 1997.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Walter C. Waidelich, District Engineer, Federal Highway Administration, Room 850, Federal Building, 300 East 8th Street, Austin, Texas 78701, (512) 916-5988. Stacey Benningfield, Environmental Manager, Texas Turnpike Authority Division, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 E. 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483, (512) 936-0983.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As initially planned SH 45 was to extend from FM 685 north of Pflugerville, Texas, westerly to a termini at U.S. Highway 183 (a distance of approximately 22.5 kilometers or 14 miles) with a 1.1. kilometer (0.7 mile) transition to existing Ranch-to-Market Road 620.

Based on preliminary traffic and engineering analyses, it was determined that the western project terminus and 1.1 kilometer (0.7 mile) transitional area, as originally proposed, would not provide for efficient dissipation of traffic demand and would, in fact, contribute to congestion on US 183, Anderson Mill Road and RM 620. To provide for efficient traffic movement in the western portion of the project area, it is necessary to extend the western project limit to Anderson Mill Road (Ranch-to-Market Road 2769). West of Anderson Mill Road the proposed facility will be transitioned back to existing RM 620. The environmental impact statement for proposed State Highway 45 will address the entire 26.1 kilometer (16.2 miles) length of the revised limits of State Highway 45 including the transitional area west of Anderson Mill Road.

Since publication of the original NOI in October 1997, the proposed SH 45 project has been identified as a turnpike project candidate. Accordingly, the Texas Department of Transportation has assigned project development responsibility to its Turnpike Authority Division (TTA). The proposed project is now being developed by the FHWA in cooperation with the TTA.

As currently envisioned, between Anderson Mill Road in southwest Williamson County and proposed State Highway 130 in northeast Travis County, the proposed facility will be initially constructed and operated as a controlled access toll road. Frontage roads will be provided in some areas, but will not be continuous throughout the length of the proposed project. Between Anderson Mill Road and proposed State Highway 130 the ultimate facility design is anticipated to be a six-lane controlled access freeway with frontage roads.

From State Highway 130 to FM 685, the eastern project termini, the proposed facility will be a non-toll 4-lane divided highway.

In conjunction with preparation of the EIS for State Highway 45 and selection of a preferred alternative, the TTA will conduct a toll feasibility study to evaluate the viability of developing the selected alternative as a toll road (except in the area east of proposed State Highway 130) and financing it, in whole or in part, through the issuance of revenue bonds. The toll road designation will not influence the selection of a preferred alternative. Proposed alternatives, including alternative alignments, will be evaluated for how well they meet the established purpose and need for the proposed project. Any impacts owing to the toll road designation will be discussed in the environmental impact statement.

On October 7, 1998, the TTA will conduct a public meeting to discuss the proposed State Highway 45 project. The purpose of the public meeting will be to receive comments on the proposed project. During the public meeting, particular emphasis will be placed upon the portion of the proposed facility to be located within the expanded project limits. The meeting will be held at Noel Grisham Middle School, 10805 School House Lane, Austin, Texas 78750. From 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., displays showing the preliminary alternatives corridors will be available for review. During this time, TTA staff will be available to answer questions. At 7:00 p.m. there will be a formal project presentation followed by a public comment period. All interested citizens are invited to attend this meeting.

A public hearing will be held after publication for the Draft EIS. Public notice will be given of the time and place of the hearing. The Draft EIS will be available for public and agency review and comment prior to the public hearing.

To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed action are addressed, and all significant issues identified, comments and suggestions are invited from all interested parties. Comments or questions concerning the proposed action and the EIS should be directed to the FHWA or TTA at the addresses provided above.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, Highway Research, Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities apply to this program) Walter C. Waidelich, District Engineer, Austin, Texas.

[FR Doc. 98-24445Filed9-10-98; 8:45 am]