The I-80 Phase I project process will involve several important and interrelated sequential steps.
Step 1 is to analyze and understand the existing and future conditions of the corridor. The study team will collect information on current and project future conditions, including traffic volumes, crash data and design standards. IDOT and stakeholders will work jointly to identify issues and concerns and corridor deficiencies, information that will contribute to the beginning stages of the development of solutions.
Step 2 builds on the data gathered in Step 1, and results in the preparation of the project Purpose and Need, a document that will guide the development of project alternatives, and the evaluation of how those alternatives address the identified purpose of and need for potential I-80 improvements.
Step 3 involves the identification of possible improvement alternatives and the development of the criteria that will be used to evaluate those alternatives. This step will include outreach efforts to the general public and project stakeholders to assist with the preparation of potential improvement solutions. This phase culminates with the selection of those alternatives that should be evaluated in further detail. NEPA requirements stipulate that “reasonable alternatives”, including a “no build” scenario, will be examined during this process, and that impacts to the surrounding community and environment will be evaluated.
Step 4 is the further detailed evaluation and analysis of a selected alternative. The findings of the entire study process are reported in the Environmental Assessment report. IDOT will consider all project input and technical analysis as it makes its final decision on a Preferred Alternative.
Public Involvement Program/CSS
The I-80 Phase I Study has been designated by IDOT as a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) project. CSS is a collaborative public involvement approach that engages all project stakeholders and uses a flexible, creative design approach to develop, construct and maintain cost effective transportation facilities. The purpose of CSS is to gather and duly consider project input from all interested parties, by promoting extensive public involvement and frequent communication with stakeholders.
A stakeholder is defined as anyone who could be affected by the project and has a stake in its outcome. The inclusive process contributes to the selection of an improvement design that fits into its surroundings, or its “context”. CSS addresses all modes of transportation, and strives to preserve scenic, aesthetic, historic and environmental resources while maintaining safety and mobility.
A Stakeholder Involvement Plan (SIP) has been prepared for this project and the SIP will be used as a blueprint for defining methods and tools to educate and engage all stakeholders in the decision-making process for this project.