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In March 2016, the FHWA and ADOT initiated the environmental review process for a large part of the Interstate 11 Corridor Study, specifically from Nogales to Wickenburg, Arizona. An Alternatives Selection Report (ASR) and Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are being prepared as part of this process in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other regulatory requirements. As part of the NEPA process, ADOT and FHWA will engage and involve stakeholder agencies, organizations and members of the community throughout the study process.
In a Tier 1 EIS process, an agency prepares a document that analyzes a program or large project on a broad scale. To start, an Alternatives Selection Report will assess a wide range of corridor alternatives and options through a robust evaluation process that uses environmental, geographical, topographical, socio-economic, and other planning information to help identify opportunities and constraints.
The number of corridor alternatives will then be reduced and carried forward in the Draft Tier 1 EIS document. The Draft Tier 1 EIS document will continue to assess in further detail the potential social, economic, and natural environmental impacts of the No-Build Alternative (the do-nothing option) and a reasonable range of corridor alternatives, including a phased implementation plan. A phased implementation plan includes smaller segments of a corridor alternative that may advance as separate, independent projects following completion of the Tier 1 EIS process. The Draft Tier 1 EIS document also will identify a Preferred Alternative (expected to be 2000’ wide). If a build alternative is identified, then FHWA will issue a combined final decision document known as a Final Tier 1 EIS and Record of Decision, which will identify the Selected Corridor Alternative.
The primary goal of the I-11 ASR and Tier 1 EIS is to reach consensus on a Selected Corridor Alternative, including:
The Tier 1 EIS will provide a roadmap for advancing the individual SIU projects to the next phase – called Tier 2. During the Tier 2 environmental process, ADOT and FHWA will conduct additional environmental and engineering studies examining individual projects, within the Selected Corridor Alternative, in greater detail.