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ARCHIVED DOCUMENTS - Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft SEIS)

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The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation on March 27, 2015. The Draft SEIS and Section 4(f) Evaluation comment period was open March 27 to May 26, 2015. DOT&PF and FHWA reviewed comments received on the Draft SEIS and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation and addressed those comments as they prepared the Final EIS, released March 9, 2018.

The Draft SEIS is a large document with many components. The Executive Summary is intended as a short and easy-to-read synopsis of the entire Draft EIS, but it necessarily leaves out detail. The full text of the Draft SEIS provides detail, and still more detail may be found in Related Reports published separately.


March 2015 Draft SEIS Documents and Maps
Draft SEIS Documents Indicates PDF documents are present

March 2015

Cover Letter - 170 kb

Cover, Signature Page, and Contents - 1 Mb

Executive Summary - 5 Mb

Chapter  1 Purpose and Need -  2 Mb
Chapter 1 introduces the project and presents and statement of purpose and need. The chapter presents detailed background information of transportation and traffic problems the project is designed to address.

Chapter  2 Project Alternatives - 3 Mb
Chapter 2 presents the alternatives selection process and highway design criteria. It includes discussion of alternatives considered but not carried forward for full evaluation, as well as detailed descriptions of each of the alternatives. The chapter includes maps, highway cross sections, and information on bridges.

Chapter  3.0 Contents - 223 kb
Chapter 3 presents discussion of many topics associated with the human, physical, and natural environment. Each subsection is structured similarly, with discussion of the Affected Environment (existing conditions) first, followed by discussion of impacts anticipated as a result of each alternative. These may be beneficial or adverse impacts. Separate subheadings divide discussion of permanent impacts of highway changes from temporary impacts expected during the construction process. At the back of many of the subsections are maps illustrating existing conditions, areas of impact, or both.

Chapter  3.1 Land Ownership - 1 Mb
Section 3.1 describes the complex of Federal, State, Borough, Native Corporation, and private lands and land use in the project area. It discusses changes that could occur under the various alternatives. This section addresses the need to acquire land for each of the alternatives.

Chapter  3.2 Land Use Plans Policies - 2 Mb
Section 3.2 focuses on land use plans of the Borough, State, and Federal land managers and includes several special land planning topics, such as the U.S. Forest Service’s Inventoried Roadless Areas, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Wilderness, and unresolved land transfer issues between agencies.

Chapter  3.3 Social Environment  - 528 kb
Section 3.3 discusses the community character, demographics, and other elements of living in and around Cooper Landing and the potential impacts of the alternatives on the people and community of the area.

Chapter  3.4 Housing and Relocation - 263 kb
Section 3.4 focuses on existing housing and businesses and physical impacts to land and buildings, including the potential need to provide relocation assistance.

Chapter  3.5 Economic Environment - 416 kb
Section 3.5 discusses the economy of Cooper Landing and, to a certain extent, the economy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the State of Alaska. This section presents the cost of each alternative and the potential impacts to local businesses of diverting some traffic around the community under some of the alternatives.

Chapter  3.6 Transportation - 2 Mb
Section 3.6 presents the existing transportation system in the project area, including the existing Sterling Highway, other roads, pedestrians and bicycles, and aviation. Transportation problems and the effects of the alternatives towards resolving those problems are included.

Chapter  3.7 River Navigation  - 593 kb
Section 3.7 focuses on Kenai River boating access and potential impacts, particularly during the construction process.

Chapter  3.8 Park and Recreation - 782 kb
Section 3.8 discusses project area fishing, scenic viewing, campgrounds, recreation sites, trails, and parks. It cross references to Chapter 4 for detail on those parks recreation areas protected by Section 4(f).

Chapter  3.9 Historic and Archaeological Preservation - 521 kb
Section 3.9 presents project area historic and prehistoric sites, districts, trails, and traditional Cultural Properties. It cross references to Chapter 4 for detail on those cultural/historic properties protected by Section 4(f).

Chapter  3.10 Subsistence - 574 kb
Section 3.10 summarizes a study of project area subsistence fishing, hunting, and gathering by Kenai Peninsula rural subsistence communities.

Chapter  3.11 Utilities - 365 kb
Section 3.11 discusses public utilities, such as power transmission lines, in the project area and the potential impacts of the alternatives.

Chapter  3.12 Geology and Topography - 412 kb
Section 3.12 discusses issues of soil stability and avalanches in the project area and risks to the various alternatives.

Chapter  3.13 Water Bodies and Water Quality - 792 kb
Section 3.13 discusses lakes, streams, and the Kenai River and potential effects to water quality during construction and long-term.

Chapter  3.14 Air Quality - 208 kb
Section 3.14 discusses air quality in the project area and potential impacts during construction and long-term.

Chapter  3.15 Noise - 755 kb
Section 3.15 discusses existing and projected future sound levels the project area with and without the project and identifies potential impacts. Modeling results for permanent impacts are presented, and short-term construction impacts are discussed as well.

Chapter  3.16 Visual Environment - 1 mb
Section 3.16 presents the existing visual/scenic environment in the project area, including views from key observation points. Before and after images help to illustrate potential impacts of the alternatives.

Chapter  3.17 Hazardous Waste Sites and Spills - 701 kb
Section 3.17 summarizes a study of potential hazardous waste sites and another study of the potential hazards of spills from the highway, with a focus on the Kenai River.

Chapter  3.18 Energy - 203 kb
Section 3.18 discusses use of fuel and other energy in construction and in operation of the highway, with and without the alternatives.

Chapter  3.19 Floodplains - 471 kb
Section 3.19 presents mapped floodplains and discusses flooding potential. Included is discussion of the potential of each alternative to affect river flooding and discussion of floods on each alternative.

Chapter  3.20 Wetlands and Vegetation - 951 kb
Section 3.20 discusses upland and wetland vegetation and the functions and values of project area wetlands. Vegetation and wetland maps are included. Impacts of the alternatives on wetlands and vegetation/habitat are included.

Chapter  3.21 Fish and Essential Fish Habitat  - 703 kb
Section 3.21 presents streams and lakes known to provide habitat for resident and anadromous (migrating) fish, including five species of salmon and several other species, along with the potential effects of the project alternatives on fish habitat.

Chapter  3.22 Wildlife - 1 Mb
Section 3.22 presents separate subsections on brown bear, moose, birds, and other wildlife. Habitat and status of various species is included, along with potential impacts of the alternatives to habitat, individual animals, and species populations and movements.

Chapter  3.23 Coastal Zone Management - 390 kb
Section 3.23 presents the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Coastal Zone Management Plan, project effects regarding the plan’s enforceable policies, and the plan’s review by the borough.  

Chapter  3.24 Permits - 304 kb
Section 3.24 presents the local, State, and Federal permits, authorizations, and other review expected to be required for each alternative.

Chapter  3.25 Short-Term Uses vs Long-Term Productivity - 173 kb
Section 3.25 discusses trade-offs between uses of the project area for improved transportation versus long-term other uses.

Chapter  3.26 Irreversible Irretrievable Commitments of Resources - 211 kb
Section 3.26 presents resources that would be used for the alternatives and discusses whether such use might cause shortages. Resources discussed include gravel, rock, asphalt, steel, and other construction materials, transportation funding, and human resources.

Chapter  3.27 Cumulative Impacts - 1 Mb
Section 3.27examines trends in past, present, and reasonably-foreseeable future actions in the project area, including the proposed project and development/activities by other agencies and private entities. Cumulative impacts that may accrue as a result of these trends are discussed.

Chapter  4 4(f) Evaluation - 6 Mb
Chapter 4 presents an analysis required by law of properties that have special protection under Section 4(f) of the Federal DOT Act. FHWA is required to avoid certain parks, recreation areas, waterfowl and wildlife refuges, and historic sites, unless there is no prudent and feasible alternative, or unless the impacts are determined to be de minimis. All build alternatives would use land from protected properties in the greater Cooper Landing area, so FHWA is required to select the alternative that has the least overall harm. This chapter presents a Least Overall Harm Analysis that will drive FHWA decision making. The analysis covers not only properties protected by Section 4(f) but incorporates non-4(f) analysis from Chapter 3 as well. Chapter 4 presents many maps, some of which provide more detail than maps in Chapter 3.

Chapter  5 Comments and Coordination - 724 kb
Chapter 5 presents a summary of public and agency involvement from 2000 to 2014. It includes a review of the process, and it presents the main issues heard.

Chapter  6 List of Preparers - 218 kb
Chapter 6 presents of list of Federal, State, and private contractor personnel who prepared the Draft SEIS and its associated studies.

Chapter  7 Distribution List - 224 kb

Chapter  8  References - 401 kb
Chapter 8 References section presents all published (written and online) and personal contact sources of information cited in the chapters of the Draft SEIS.

Chapter  9 Index - 225 kb
Chapter 9 Index presents cross references to many topics and landmarks or place names within the project area.

Appendix A Crash Report - 830 kb

Appendix B Relocation Study - 929 kb

Appendix C ANILCA 810 Evaluation - 748 kb

Appendix D Noise Report - 3 Mb

Appendix E Location Hydraulic Study - 2 Mb

Appendix F Section 4f de minimis - 2 Mb

Draft SEIS Maps (jpeg files)
March 2015

Chapter 1 - jpegs

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Avoidance Maps

Final EIS Meeting Materials Indicates PDF documents are present.

March 2015

Poster Boards - 20 Mb



Juneau Creek Alternative (Selected Alternative)

The Juneau Creek Alternative is identified in the Final EIS as the preferred alternative. The Juneau Creek Alternative deviates from the existing alignment more than the other alternatives—about 10 of 14 miles would be on a new alignment. As a result, this alternative would carry highway traffic farther away from the Kenai River over the longest distance, which best protects the river, and would also avoid local traffic and community impacts in the Cooper Landing area. It would run north of Cooper Landing and north of the Kenai River, climbing the hillside and crossing Juneau Creek Canyon with a new bridge south of Juneau Creek Falls. This bridge would be the longest single-span bridge in Alaska. The Juneau Creek Alternative would cross the Resurrection Pass National Recreation Trail and mitigation measures have been provided to lessen the effects of that crossing. Toward its west end, the new alignment would cross land currently designated as part of the Mystery Creek Wilderness area in the KNWR and would rejoin the existing highway at about MP 56. However, the affected KNWR land north of the highway is expected to be exchanged with Cook Inlet Region, Inc. under provisions signed into law in the Russian River Land Act, so no use of Wilderness land is expected. Mitigation is also provided for wildlife movement, which includes four wildlife crossing structures, including the first wildlife overpass of a highway in Alaska.

For more information on why DOT&PF and FHWA have identified this alternative as preferred, and to compare it to the other alternatives, see the FAQ page (links below).


Other Alternatives Evaluated

No Build Alternative

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires that an EIS describe and analyze the impacts of not building the project as a benchmark that allows for comparison of the environmental effects of the various project alternatives. In the EIS, this alternative is called the “No Build Alternative.” Under the No Build Alternative, the highway would remain much as it is today, with only maintenance and already programmed work assumed to occur.

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Cooper Creek Alternative

The Cooper Creek Alternative follows the existing alignment for most of its length. Only about 3.5 miles would be located on a new alignment, routed south of a portion of Cooper Landing. This alternative would include construction of three large bridges—two replacing existing Kenai River bridges and one new large bridge over Cooper Creek.

The Cooper Creek Alternative would have the greatest impacts on Cooper Landing (property, relocations, noise, and traffic) and would not address the project purpose and need as well as other alternatives. It would continue to carry all traffic close to the Kenai River (a risk to water quality and fish) and close to recreation destinations that have seasonally heavy local traffic.


G South Alternative

The G South Alternative would construct 5.5 miles of new alignment skirting north of Cooper Landing and the Kenai River, reconnecting with the existing alignment near MP 52.  This alternative was designed to avoid impacts to the Resurrection Pass Trail and Juneau Creek Falls Recreation Area. This alternative would include construction of three bridges—one replacing an existing bridge over the Kenai River and two new bridges, a large bridge over lower Juneau Creek, and one new bridge over the Kenai River.

The G South Alternative would continue to carry all traffic close to the Kenai River (a risk to water quality and fish) and close to recreation destinations that have seasonally heavy local traffic. It is the only alternative that would create a new bridge over the Kenai River, adding risk to water quality and impacting the recreational experience available on the river (a state park unit). It also would impact an area considered to be important brown bear habitat. DOT&PF and FHWA did not have a preferred alternative when the DSEIS was published. They initially identified the G South Alternative as preferred. With release of the Final EIS, they have reconsidered the preferred alternative based on comments received and based on changes in area.


Juneau Creek Variant Alternative

The Juneau Creek Variant Alternative is almost the same as the Juneau Creek Alternative but was specifically designed to avoid use of land from the KNWR and the Mystery Creek Wilderness. The Juneau Creek Variant Alternative would rejoin the existing alignment at MP 55 of the existing highway adjacent to Sportsman’s Landing. The alternative includes one large bridge crossing Juneau Creek Canyon. It would be the longest single-span bridge in Alaska.

The Juneau Creek Variant Alternative would impact the heart of the Sqilantnu Russian River Confluence Site, which is considered to be a Traditional Cultural Property, as well as the Resurrection Pass National Recreation Trail.