The I-80 Phase I project process involved several important and interrelated sequential steps.
Step 1 was to analyze and understand the existing and future conditions of the corridor. The study team collected information on current and projected future conditions, including traffic volumes, crash data and design standards. IDOT and stakeholders worked jointly to identify issues and concerns and corridor deficiencies, information that contributed to the beginning stages of the development of solutions.
Step 2 built on the data gathered in Step 1, and resulted in the preparation of the project Purpose and Need, a document that guided 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 involved the identification of possible improvement alternatives and the development of the criteria that was used to evaluate those alternatives. This step included outreach efforts to the general public and project stakeholders to assist with the preparation of potential improvement solutions. This phase culminated 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 considered all project input and technical analysis in makeing 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.