Steps in the Process
A critical first step in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for the Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project is scoping, the process by which the lead agency for preparation of the EIS seeks comment and input from the public, stakeholders, members of local, state, and federal agencies, and others on the alternatives considered, range of studies, and issues to be addressed in the Draft EIS (DEIS). Throughout the scoping process, the FRA sought comment and input on the purpose and need and related goals for the proposed bridge replacement or rehabilitation; the studies to be conducted; the types of alternatives to be considered; and the significant project-related issues to be addressed in the DEIS.
The FRA initiated scoping with publication of a Notice of Intent (NOI) in December 2006 to prepare an EIS for the project. Following publication of the DEIS, the FRA issued a Notice of Availability (NOA) in the Federal Register announcing that the DEIS was available for agency and public review and comment. The NOA also identified the period during which comments could be submitted and provided information about public hearing dates and locations. The DEIS public hearing was held on March 18, 2008.
The FRA assessed and considered all comments on the DEIS and responded to them in a Final EIS (FEIS). Substantive comments received on the DEIS were addressed in the FEIS, and the FEIS identified the selected alternative. The NOA for the FEIS was published on October 17, 2008 in the Federal Register.