HJR 658

Interstate Route 73 Communications Committee

May 17, 2000, Martinsville

The I-73 Communications Committee was briefed on the current status of the Interstate Route 73 project by representatives of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Parsons-Brinckerhoff (engineering consultants to VDOT).

It was reported that a preliminary draft environmental impact statement for the project has been submitted by VDOT and is being reviewed by FHWA and that FHWA's comments on that document should be received by VDOT in early June. After VDOT has had an opportunity to address these FHWA comments, the revised draft environmental impact statement will be circulated by FHWA to other affected federal agencies for their review and comment prior to its being made available for review and comment by the general public. Only following consideration of public comments will the environmental impact statement be submitted to FHWA for final approval. The preliminary draft environmental impact statement will be about 400 pages long, exclusive of supporting documents.

By August of 2000, VDOT expects to have received comments from all the federal agencies involved. This would make it possible for FHWA to sign the draft environmental impact statement as early as September, and clear the way for VDOT to hold public hearings on the project's location in October. If this schedule is followed, the I-73 project could be submitted to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) for its decision in early 2001, and, assuming CTB approval, a final "record of decision" --constituting a federal "go-ahead" for the project--could be forthcoming from FHWA by as early as September or October of 2001.

The Honorable Ward L. Armstrong, Chairman
Legislative Services contact: Alan B. Wambold