News | March 21, 2012

Proposed 29 Bypass faces federal review

Last summer, the long-dormant plan for a bypass around Route 29 was suddenly revived and quickly approved by local and state officials. Now, it is up to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to gather and review updated information and to decide whether the project should move forward. This process is legally mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA essentially says that if federal money will be used for a project, the government must first have reliable, up-to-date information about potential impacts on the environment, community, and public health, and they must take a hard look at alternatives. NEPA also requires public input throughout the process. SELC will be closely involved at every stage of this federal review process to ensure that the federal government meets all necessary requirements.

Public meeting slated for Spring/Summer 2012
As required by law, VDOT is now gathering updated information on the proposed bypass and its impacts in a report called an  “environmental assessment.” A draft of the assessment will be presented to the public this spring or summer, and an important meeting will be held to get the public’s input. After the public meeting, VDOT will revise the assessment and submit a final version to FHWA for review.  FHWA could make a decision whether to move forward with the project as soon as this summer or early fall.  Please plan to attend this public meeting. SELC will post exact date and location as soon as this information becomes available.