I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study on March 16, 2018. For purposes of initiating the scoping process, the NOI identified the study limits as I-495 from south of the American Legion Bridge in Fairfax County, Virginia, to east of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Prince George’s County, Maryland; and I-270 from I-495 to I-370 in Montgomery County, Maryland, including the east and west I-270 spurs north of I-495. These study limits remain valid and provide a broad description of the study’s extent.
However, since issuance of the NOI, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) gathered additional traffic data during project scoping and alternatives development. This data has led to a refinement of the study limits identified in the NOI to specific crossroads where major traffic generation occurs.
Additionally, the rational endpoints for the environmental review have been extended beyond these crossroads to account for the distance needed to tie the mainline improvements into the existing roadway lanes. The three logical termini for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study are:
- Western Limit on I-495: south of George Washington Memorial Parkway;
- Southern Limit on I-495: west of MD 5; and
- Northern Limit on I-270: north of I-370.
The I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study is evaluating alternatives that address the needs to accommodate existing and long-term traffic growth, enhance trip reliability, expand travel options, accommodate homeland security, and improve the movement of goods and services.
The Study is following the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and will result in an EIS. The Draft EIS will document the project scoping process; purpose and need development; alternatives development and screening; traffic and environmental analyses; and public and agency involvement. The FHWA is the lead federal agency for the EIS with MDOT SHA serving as the local project sponsor and joint lead agency.
Notice of Intent to
Initiate NEPA Study
Scoping Open Houses 45-day Comment Period
Range of Alternatives
Define Purpose and Need
Develop Preliminary Range of Alternatives
Alternatives Analysis & Environmental Technical Analysis
Select Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study (ARDS)
Complete Technical Analysis of ARDS
Development of Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Issue Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)
Begin Comment Period
Hold DEIS Public Hearings
DEIS Comment Period and Consideration of Comments Received
End DEIS Comment Period
Review and Consider DEIS Comments
Identify Recommended Preferred
Development of Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Publish Supplemental Draft
Environmental Impact Statement
Begin SDEIS Comment Period
Hold Virtual Public Hearing
Development of Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision
End SDEIS Comment Period
Review and Consider SDEIS Comments
Issue Final Environmental
Impact Statement (FEIS) and
Record of Decision (ROD)
What is NEPA?
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is a federal environmental law that established processes to evaluate the needs and benefits of a federal action and the potential environmental impacts arising from the action. The law requires development of a reasonable range of project alternatives that can accomplish the purpose and need, and consideration of potential impacts to socioeconomic, cultural, and natural resources from the alternatives being considered. Key to this process is coordination among federal, state, and local agencies, and communication with the public, and other project stakeholders.
Due to the potential for significant environmental impacts, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be developed for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study. An EIS is the most detailed and rigorous level of NEPA study and concludes with a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project.