FAQWhat is a Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study?
A Project Development & Environment (PD&E) Study is the process that ensures early consideration is given to engineering design, project costs, and environmental and social impacts, along with input from the public in the development of a proposed transportation improvement project. When a transportation improvement is considered, the improvement options (called alternatives) are developed with input from the public, local government, and environmental and planning agencies. These alternatives are then analyzed to determine their involvement with the social, natural, and physical environment. The goal of the PD&E process is to select the best alternative that meets both the purpose and needs of the project as well as having the least impact on the environment.
What are the next steps after the PD&E Study?
Once the PD&E Study is completed, the project moves forward into Design, followed by Right-of Way-Acquisition, and finally Construction. Before the project can move from one stage to the next, funding must be secured for that next phase. Refer to the image above.
What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?
An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a public document that provides evidence and analysis for determining the significance of impacts from a proposed action, in this case the construction of a new roadway. An EA is prepared when it is unclear whether the proposed action will have a significant effect on the social, economic, and/or natural environments.
If it is determined that the action will not have a significant impact on the environments mentioned above, then a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is prepared. If it is determined that the action will have significant impacts on the social, economic, and/or natural environments, then an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be prepared to document those impacts and any measures to minimize or offset the impacts.
Ultimately, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would be responsible for approving the EA/ FONSI or the EIS.
What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a comprehensive public document that analyzes and documents the impacts of a proposed Federal action, in this case the construction of a new roadway. Within the EIS, measures to minimize or mitigate impacts are also identified. An EIS is prepared when it is determined that an action will have a significant impact on the social, economic, and/or natural environments.
In general, what are the differences between an EA and an EIS?
Differences between the two environmental documents include:
- An EA is prepared when it is unknown whether a proposed action (in this case the construction of a new roadway) will have significant impacts to the social, economic, or natural environments. However, an EIS is prepared when it is understood that the proposed action will have significant impacts on one or more of the environments mentioned above.
- While an EA has detailed analysis within it, typically an EIS has more analysis, documentation, and procedural requirements than an EA and, as such, is normally a larger document than an EA.
- Because of the differences listed above, an EA takes less time, on average, to prepare than an EIS.
When is the project scheduled to be completed?
As mentioned on the home page and project overview page, the project will be split into two segments, with each segment having its own PD&E Study.
The study limits for Segment 1 extend from US 98 (SR 30) east of Peach Creek in Walton County to SR 79 in the vicinity of CR 388 in Bay County. An EIS will be prepared for this segment and is scheduled for completion in the winter of 2012.
The study limits for Segment 2 follow along CR 388 from SR 79 to SR 77 in Bay County. An EA will be prepared for this segment and it is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2010.