January is now the release date for the Fern Valley Interchange project’sfederally-required Environmental Assessment (EA).
“We were hoping for an earlier roll-out but some of the details in the trafficreports needed additional modeling, as well as various measures in the Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP),” said ODOT Project LeaderDick Leever.
The Draft EA will evaluate the two alternatives – a mix of previous concepts and those submitted by the Phoenix Association of Business and Property Owners. A 30-day public comment period begins once the draft EA is published. The comment period includes an open house to be held inPhoenix so the public can provide feedback on the alternatives.
According to Leever, the IAMP is still being refi ned. After nearly a year ofstakeholder meetings and input, the plan went before the Phoenix PlanningCommission and City Council.
The IAMP is a planning document that examines future development nearthe interchange while also protecting the public’s investment in the roadwaysystem. IAMPs coordinate current and future land uses and transportationimprovements to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people andgoods to, through, from, and within the area. This is done by analyzingcurrent land uses and traffic conditions, and future land uses and traffic conditions. Based on the results of the analysis, the study may recommend changes to allowable land uses near the interchange, or changes to the local street network and nearby intersections.
The IAMP is a new requirement of the Oregon Transportation Commission,which sets policy for ODOT.
“The combination of recent growth and the potential for future developmentin the immediate area shows the need for planning to protect the functionof the Fern Valley interchange,” said ODOT Planner John McDonald. “TheIAMP strikes a balance between protecting the function of the interchange while allowing the maximum amount of development in the Phoenix area.”
Construction on the estimated $70 million project is currently scheduled to begin in 2012.
The project Web site offers draft technical reports, maps of the two design alternatives as well as archives from the Citizens Advisory Committee andthe Project Development Team.
For more information go online to:www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/fvi_index.shtml.