Montana Department of Transportation

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Active Project - Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study

Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study
US 89 (Gardiner to Livingston)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study?

The Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study is a pre National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) planning-level assessment occurring before project-level design and development. MDT uses this process to provide a better link between early transportation planning and environmental compliance efforts. The process involves conducting a planning–level evaluation of safety, operational, and environmental conditions to identify needs and constraints.

MDT can save time and money in subsequent projects by facilitating early identification of constraints through coordination with local government, resource agencies, and other stakeholders; screening of possible improvement options; and elimination of infeasible options.

A planning study considers multiple improvement options to address the needs and objectives within a study area. The planning process is distinct from a NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance document and from design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction phases for an individual project.

For additional information, refer to MDT's planning study process.

What does a "pre-NEPA/MEPA planning study" mean?

The National and Montana Environmental Policy Acts (NEPA/MEPA) require state and federal agencies to disclose impacts resulting from state and federal actions. In the context of transportation projects, the NEPA/MEPA process is intended to assist officials in making transportation decisions, while taking into account the human and natural environment and the public's need for safe and efficient transportation. The NEPA/MEPA process ensures that information about anticipated transportation project impacts is available to the public before decisions are made and carried out.

The Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study is a pre-NEPA/MEPA study that involves a planning-level assessment of the study area. The planning process will include a review of potential environmental issues and concerns. The results of this planning-level environmental review could be used to assist in later NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance phases for an individual project.

Who is conducting this study?

The Montana Department of Transportation is conducting this study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and in coordination with Park County. Robert Peccia and Associates (RPA) is assisting MDT to complete the planning effort by March 2014.

What steps will be taken during the study?

  1. Develop study work plan
    The planning team will assess the complexity of issues within the study area and the level of effort required to address the issues.
  2. Develop existing conditions report
    The team will assess the structural characteristics, crash history, and existing operational characteristics of US 89, as well as traffic patterns, safety concerns, and environmental resources within the study area.
  3. Identify needs and objectives
    The planning team will identify needs and objectives for the US 89 corridor. All comments received during the planning process will be considered by the planning team.
  4. Identify improvement options
    The planning team will identify potential short-, mid-, and long-term improvement options for the US 89 corridor, which will be evaluated based on their ability to address the study needs and objectives. Potential impacts, mitigation opportunities, and estimated costs will be identified for each improvement option.
  5. Prepare draft study report
    The planning team will prepare a draft report documenting the planning process, including public and agency input, key findings, recommendations, and next steps. The team will seek comments on the draft report from resource agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public.
  6. Finalize study report
    The planning team will finalize the study report after considering comments from members of the public, resource agencies, and other interested parties. Recommendations from the study will assist MDT in identifying potential projects based on needs, objectives, and funding availability.

What happens next?

A planning study considers multiple improvement options within the study area. This early planning process is distinct from the environmental compliance, design, and construction phases of an individual project. Any future steps will be determined by MDT in conjunction with FHWA and Park County.

How can I become involved in the study?

The public is encouraged to participate in the planning process. Two informational meetings take place throughout the study. Each meeting will be held at two locations; Gardiner and Livingston. The date, time, and location for these meetings will be announced before each event through local media and this website. Members of the public may also review information posted on this website and provide input throughout the study. See "How can I stay informed?" below.

MDT, FHWA, Park County and RPA will collect and consider all comments to better understand potential issues, concerns, opportunities, and constraints. The planning team will recommend improvement options that best meet the US 89 corridor needs and objectives developed through the planning process.

How can I stay informed?

MDT encourages members of the public to join the study mailing list by submitting contact information to Jeff Key or by submitting a comment.

Study information will be published on this website, in local media venues, and via newsletters throughout the planning study process.