The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) have released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed reconstruction of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. The FEIS incorporates feedback from the community and identifies “Alternative 3 – Two New Tunnels” as the preferred alternative for construction. The FEIS and a fact sheet are available at www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com.
Under the process prescribed by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the agencies considered the alternatives outlined in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released in July 2013, and determined that Alternative 3 best meets the project’s purpose and need while addressing community concerns and minimizing impacts to the tunnel’s neighbors.
Alternative 3 has the shortest construction time frame of the build alternatives considered (approximately 30 to 42 months). It addresses community concerns about moving trains through an open trench during construction by operating trains in an enclosed tunnel at all times in front of residences. It also maintains access for residents and emergency responders to all homes and cross-streets during the entire construction process.
Copies of the FEIS are available for review at the following locations:
- Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003
- Southwest Neighborhood Library, 900 Wesley Place SW, Washington, DC 20024
A public meeting was also held on July 1 at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, 10 I Street SW, Washington, DC 20024 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The meeting included a presentation on the details about construction and time to ask questions of the project team.
The FEIS will be available for review for 30 days before an official decision is released, called the Record of Decision (ROD). After the conclusion of the review period, FHWA will issue a Record of Decision, which provides the basis for the decision, summarizes mitigation measures incorporated into the project, and documents any required Section 4(f) approval. Dependent upon the decision in the ROD, CSX will share additional information about timing and other specifics.
For more information about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, visit www.virginiaavenuetunnel.com.
By: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project Team