(JASPER) – The Mid-States Corridor Project Team expects to identify a preferred corridor for the improved highway connection in southern Indiana later this year.
The corridor will be identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is expected to be published this fall.
The DEIS will compare benefits, impacts and costs of detailed alternatives. Public hearings will be held after the DEIS is published and there will be a formal comment period. The Project Team will consider all comments and further refine the preferred alternative in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). The final corridor will be selected in a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Highway Administration. The Tier 1 FEIS and ROD are expected in summer 2022.
“The review process is a lengthy one to thoroughly analyze benefits, impacts and costs for large projects that will include federal funding,” said Jason DuPont, Mid-States Corridor project manager. “We’ve been even more deliberate in this Tier 1 environmental study to reflect some of the challenges raised by the pandemic, the feedback received from stakeholders and comments from the public. There’s a lot of interest in this project and it’s important to share our updated timeline so people have a better idea of what to expect and next steps.”
The Project Team is identifying working alignments within each two-mile study band presented last year. In addition, the team is modifying the alternatives to incorporate feedback from the public and agencies. That includes examining combinations of alignments and considering upgrades to existing US 231.
Selection of a facility type will be deferred to Tier 2 environmental studies to offer more flexibility when specific alignments are selected. Freeway options will no longer be considered because of the higher costs. Expressway and Super-2 options will be considered for all routes. An expressway has at least two lanes in each direction and access at both interchanges and at-grade intersections. A Super-2 includes one travel lane in each direction and a passing/auxiliary lane or wider shoulders where appropriate. It can be used as one direction of a future expressway.
Alternatives will be detailed and analyzed in the DEIS, which will include screening revisions. The DEIS will be published this fall and followed by a set of public hearings. The hearings will comply with health guidelines in place at the time and include a virtual component. Comments will also be accepted in person, online or by mail during a formal comment period of at least 30 days. All comments received will be considered by the Project Team and addressed in the FEIS.
The Tier 1 FEIS and ROD are anticipated to be published in summer 2022. These will be followed by more detailed Tier 2 environmental studies if a Build Alternative is selected. There’s no timetable for the start of Tier 2 studies, but each is expected to take about two years to complete. Those studies will determine specific alignments and preferred alternatives within the selected Tier 1 corridor.
Project Office Reopening
The Mid-States Corridor project office, located at Vincennes University Jasper, is reopening by appointment only. The Project Team will accommodate appointments for socially-distanced, in-person meetings that adhere to current health guidelines and online meetings. Interested parties should call the project office to request an appointment.
Public feedback is always welcome through the project website (MidStatesCorridor.com), by phone (812-482-3116), and by mail. The mailing address is Mid-States Corridor Project Office, Vincennes University Jasper Campus Administration Building, Room 216, 850 College Ave., Jasper, IN 47546.