FixAlcoaHighway.com wrote to the Federal Highway Administration Office of Project Development and Environmental Review requesting four things with regard to the Alcoa Parkway/Bypass project:
1. Reject a "finding of no significant impact" and require a full Environmental Impact Statement for the 2004/2010 proposed bypass alternative.
2. Require the original 2000 "fix in place" improvement EA to be included in the final 2004/2010 bypass proposal EIS as an alternative build option for public comment.
3. Require a new public hearing on the combined 2000 EA and 2004/2010 proposal EIS.
4. Carefully review the EA/EIS reports and give full and equal consideration to public comments of all stakeholders, including the general public and residents of the affected communities, before making any final decision on a preferred build option.
After filtering down to the Tennessee Division office, FWHA Tennessee Division Administrator Pamela M. Kordenbrock responded by saying that they appreciate our comments and FWHA will pass them along to TDOT for consideration.
Further, Ms. Kordenbrock says that "the FHWA approved an Environmental Assessment, which was developed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT), on March 24, 2004. The Department is currently preparing a final environmental document in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)."
We are not exactly clear whether the statement "FHWA approved an Environmental Assessment" means FWHA approved preparing an EA or approved the plan based on a "finding of no significant impact" for the EA. We are also not clear on what a NEPA "final environmental document" is.
It is also our understanding that the Federal Highway Administration is the final decision maker on whether to approve a project's Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement, so we are not clear on why the FHWA forwarded our request to TDOT.
In fact, Gerald Solomon, Director, FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review in Washington said in his response that "our Division Administrator in Tennessee, Ms. Pamela M. Kordenbrock, is responsible for decisions on review of projects under the National Environmental Policy Act."
We will be following up with Ms. Kordenbrock for clarification on these points.
In the mean time, if anyone else has similar concerns about the lack of public involvement in this project or FWHA oversight, please contact the FHWA officials mentioned below, and feel free to copy and paste from our letter.
Mr. Gerald L. Solomon, Director
Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
Ms. Pamela M. Kordenbrock, Administrator
Federal Highway Administration Tennessee Division
404 BNA Drive
Nashville, Tennessee 37217
Copies of the letters (click image to view):
About this site
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- Alcoa "Parkway" TDOT public hearing (4 replies)
- TDOT PROJECT WEBSITE
- FHWA/TDOT Finding of No Significant Impact
- 1998 TDOT proposal EA with public comments
- 2004 TDOT proposal EA with public comments
- TDOT transcript of Nov. 9 2010 public meeting
- TDOT public comments received after Nov. 9 2010 meeting
- Raw audio recording of Nov. 9 2010 TDOT meeting
- Map of proposed route
- Knox TPO Feb. 2010 Agenda w/attachments
- Map of local area TDOT projects
- Knox TPO Long Range Transportation Plan Update
- Knox TPO Transportation Infrastructure Program FY11-14
- Knox TPO Executive Board minutes Aug. 2006
- TDOT Nov. 9 2010 public meeting notice
- Printable opposition flyer for public meeting
- Maryville Daily Times ad
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- Tennessee Department of Transportation
- Knoxville Region Transportation Planning Office