Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is an Environmental Assessment / Corridor Study?

 

An Environmental Assessment / Corridor Study is a document created as a part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Study process for major transportation projects.  An EA / Corridor Study will identify the following:           

1.      Purpose & Need Statement:  What are the needs of the corridor and what measurable objectives can be defined to determine whether the needs are satisfied?

2.      Evaluate preliminary alternatives and transportation modes for the corridor.  Each alternative will be evaluated against the “No-Build” (i.e. only programmed improvements) alternative.

3.      Alternatives to be retained for further study.  Which alternatives best meet the needs of the corridor and will be studied in greater detail?

Why is this study being performed?

 

The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) deemed the SR 37 corridor study to be a High Priority Project for the State of Indiana.  The United States Congress has thereby mandated that a study of improvements along SR 37 in Noblesville, Elwood, and Marion be commissioned.   Since 1990, four independent studies have been performed on various portions of the corridor by several different agencies, with varying recommendations for improvements.  The alternatives generated in this study will include recommendations from the previous studies.

 

Who is involved in the preparation of the study?

 

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has contracted with Woolpert LLP to prepare the study.  Wilbur Smith Associates will assist Woolpert LLP with preparation of those portions of the study dealing with economic impacts.

 

Who will decide what alternative(s) to select?

 

A Management Committee has been established to make decisions such as alternative selection. This committee is comprised of INDOT, FHWA, and Local Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) officials.  Woolpert LLP and Wilbur Smith Associates are also members of the Management Committee.

Will there be any opportunities for public input?

           

Yes.  Two public meetings will be held during the life of the project.  Each of the two meetings will include one public meeting held in the northern portion of the corridor, and one at the southern portion of the corridor.  All Public meeting dates and locations will be posted on this site at least 3-weeks in advance of the meeting. (View upcoming public meeting dates)  Additionally, a Stakeholder’s Committee has been created for the SR 37 study.  This committee is made up of local city/county government officials, business owners, and residents who have volunteered to help the project team determine the needs of the communities along the SR 37 corridor.

What criteria will be used in determining an alternative’s ability to meet the needs of the corridor?

 

Each alternative will be consistently evaluated based on its ability to meet the following criteria:

 

    1.  Satisfaction of the Purpose and Need Statement for the study corridor.

    2.  Need Based on Traffic—Does the alternative handle current and forecasted traffic volumes?

    3.  Engineering and Cost —Does the alternative present any unusual engineering difficulties, and what 

         would the alternative cost to construct?

    4.  Environmental —Does the alternative necessitate inflicting undue harm to the environment?

    5.  Travel Efficiency —Will the alternative cause sufficient road user benefits in terms of travel time and

         safety to warrant the investment?

 

The first step of evaluation is defining a “No-Build” Alternative which will be used as a baseline in the evaluation of all other alternatives.  The “No-Build” Alternative is defined as the existing highway plus corridor improvements that are already planned/programmed within the INDOT or the local MPO’s Long Range plans.

 

How long after the alternative selection process will design / construction begin?       

 

The process of planning, designing, and constructing a major highway improvement project takes several years to complete.  An EA/Corridor Study the first step in the NEPA process, and depending on the level of expected impacts can be followed by a complete Environmental Impact Statement.  The project design and construction then occur.

What precautions are taken to insure that the alternatives selected in this study won’t be outdated by the

     time construction begins?

 

All data used in this study will be forecasted for the design year 2025.  All forecasts will be determined through INDOT approved planning procedures and models based on local population and traffic trends.

 

 


 

SR 37 Environmental Assessment / Corridor Study

from Noblesville to Marion