Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park included in the study area?

No. Due to the historical significance of this site, the Elkhorn Ranch Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park is excluded from the project study area. The exclusion of the property means construction is not, and would not be, proposed on the Elkhorn Ranch Unit property.

 

When was the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process initiated?

The EIS was initiated when the Notice of Intent was published in the Federal Register on October 12, 2006, Volume 71, No. 197. A second Notice of Intent was published on December 6, 2010, Volume 75 No. 233 due to a change in the study area.

 

What is the difference between the current project and previous efforts by Billings County to construct a crossing over the Little Missouri River?

The current EIS is different than previous environmental studies because it uses an expanded study area, considers a greater range of alternatives, and follows procedures contained in Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).

 

Has a Coordination Plan been completed in accordance with SAFETEA-LU requirements?

Yes. A Coordination Plan was completed in February of 2007, updated in December 2011 and is available under the Public Involvement section of the project website.

 

What is the purpose of the proposed project?

The purpose of the proposed project is to provide for the safe and efficient movement of people and commerce through promotion of a reliable transportation system within Billings County. Specifically, the purpose of the proposed project is to:

 

• Provide the public with a centrally accessible, safe, efficient, and reliable link between ND Highway 16 and

   Highway 85 within the study area (system linkage); while connecting the transportation network on the east side of

   the Little Missouri River to the transportation network on the west side of the Little Missouri River (internal linkage).

• Upgrade existing roadways and/or create new roadways and construct a river crossing over the Little Missouri River

   to best meet roadway and structure design standards.

 

Why is the proposed project needed?

The need for the proposed project is driven by inadequate system linkage within Billings County, specifically the lack of reliable river crossings, and increased traffic demands from the oil and gas industry. Historically, Billings County has seen a need for a new crossing of the Little Missouri River as early as the 1970s. The County documented concerns that roadways in the area were unreliable in inclement weather, which made them virtually impassable, while the ability to cross the river has had to be negotiated with landowners of private fords. The County also identified the need for a river crossing to meet socioeconomic demands within the area, such as industry development.

 

Have alternatives been developed?

A range of reasonable alternatives is currently under development. Both location alternatives and structure alternatives will be developed and analyzed with the intent of avoidance and minimization of impacts in conjunction with meeting the purpose and need of the project.

 

Who is leading the proposed project?

The lead agencies of the proposed project are the Federal Highway Administration, North Dakota Department of Transportation and Billings County.

 

What other agencies are involved in the proposed project?

Along with the lead agencies, there are agencies that are considered cooperating and participating agencies. The “cooperating” and “participating” agency status does not imply support for the project; rather, these agencies have varying levels of responsibility with the project planning process. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Forest Service are both cooperating agencies for the project. The participating agencies for the project are as follows:

 

• National Park Service (Theodore Roosevelt National Park)

• US Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (ND State Office)

• US Environmental Protection Agency (Region 8)

• US Fish & Wildlife Service (ND Field Office)

• ND Department of Emergency Services (Department of Homeland Security)

• ND Department of Health

• ND Game & Fish Department

• ND Parks and Recreation

• ND State Water Commission

• State Historical Society of ND

Tribal Consultation Committee

 

Who will approve the proposed project?

Throughout this process, agencies and interested parties, including the general public, will be asked to provide their comments and feedback through various public and agency meetings. Input and comments from agencies and the public will be a large part of the decision-making process for the project.

However, the three lead agencies (Federal Highway Administration, North Dakota Department of Transportation, and Billings County) and the cooperating agencies, using agency and public input as well as relying heavily on technical studies, will decide whether to approve the project.

 

What approval do the decision-makers give?

Ultimately, the Federal Highway Administration will provide the final approval of the Draft EIS and Final EIS, and will issue the Record of Decision. In addition to their approval, the cooperating agencies (US Army Corps of Engineers and US Forest Service) will adopt the EIS, at their discretion, to fulfill their agencies’ requirements under NEPA.

Furthermore, a Section 404 permit approval may be required from the US Army Corps of Engineers and approval of right-of-way acquisition may need to be approved by the US Forest Service if right-of-way is needed on their land.

 

Who is funding the proposed project?

Billings County is funding the environmental process and preliminary engineering to meet NEPA requirements. Possible funding sources for construction of the project may come from the federal government and Billings County as follows:

 

• Major County Routes:  Federal funding (up to a limited amount) of eligible costs with the remainder coming from

  County funds—typically 80 percent federal and 20 percent County.

• Forest Highway Routes: Federal funding (up to a limited amount) for eligible costs with the remainder coming from

  County funds.

• Non-federal Aid Routes:  No federal funding. All funds would come from the County.

 

These funding sources reflect user taxes collected and dedicated to these types of projects. No new taxes are proposed directly as a result of any proposed alternatives.

 

Who can I direct my concerns to?

 

Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson

 

Jennifer Turnbow, Project Manager

 

4585 Coleman Street

 

Bismarck, ND 58503

 

 

jen.turnbow@kljeng.com