Presentation on theme: "Utah’s Environmental Document Quality Improvement Group ACEC-Utah Chapter, FHWA-Utah Division, Utah DOT Partnerships and Strategies Presenter: Carlos Braceras,"— Presentation transcript:
Utah’s Environmental Document Quality Improvement Group ACEC-Utah Chapter, FHWA-Utah Division, Utah DOT Partnerships and Strategies Presenter: Carlos Braceras, UDOT Deputy Executive Director AASHTO-ACEC-FHWA Workshop, June 8, 2004
Vision: Quality Environmental Documents
Today’s Situation – Recognizing the Challenge and the Need
The performance standard for environmental documents prepared several years ago is not the same today.
RHAA AA MBTA FWCA HSBAA FIFRA CAA AHPA LWCF CAA WA CRA SWDA HBA NHPA 4(f) FAHA CAA WSRA EAA NEPA RRA URA WBA CWA CZMA ESA SDWA FNWA MSFCMA RCRA CWA EO11990 EO11998 ARPA CERCLA ANILCA LAA FPPA CBRA HSWA SDWA EWRA CWA URA STURAA NAGPRA CZARA ADA CAA ISTEA SNRTA EO12898 EO13007 SDWA EO13061 EO13089 TEA-21 EO13112 EO13148 EO13186 CAA Federal Environmental Legislation and Executive Orders Affecting Transportation CUMULATIVE NUMBER OF LAWS AND AMENDMENTS YEAR
Study Area Techniques City Center Project Course Module 3 - Initial Scoping Project Area Political Boundaries Commuteshed Habitat Area UrbanGrowth Boundary Final Study Area Boundary
So how do we meet the challenges for environmental document quality?
Addressing Environmental Documentation Challenges UDOT & ACEC-UT Liaison Committee Establish the Quality Improvement Team Goals & Objectives Brainstorming Prioritization Team Member Assignments
UDOT-ACEC Liaison Committee Offered an existing collaborative mechanism Launched the idea for an Environmental Document Quality Improvement Team
Establishing the Team UDOT Central Environmental Services UDOT Region Environmental Representatives FHWA-Utah Division ACEC- Utah
The Team and Advisors ACECFHWAUDOTAdvisors Jim Horrocks, Horrocks Engineers Jeff BernaJerry Chaney, Central Carlos Braceras, UDOT Vince Izzo, HDR Sandra GarciaJohn Higgins, Region Wes Bollinger, FHWA Jon Nepstad, Fehr & Peers Greg PunskeBrent Jensen, Central Mike Brehm, Utah ACEC Tom Twedt, Bio-West Reed Soper, Central Fred Doehring, UDOT Rob Wight, Region Clint Topham, PB
Objectives for Document Quality Improvement Investigate National Issues and Best Practices Identify Critical Local Issues Identify Potential Fatal Flaws Identify Targets for Success Identify Local Best Practices
Brainstorming Initial meetings captured and framed issues
Prioritization About 25 proposed improvements and solutions were ranked and prioritized by the team. Brainstorming Ideas Priorities HighMed.Low
Fundamental Findings – the High Priorities Teamwork Technical Expertise Realistic Schedules and Budgets Specific QC/QA Process and Procedures
Coordination Roles & Responsibilities Teamwork Partnering Commitment Communication
Local Government Manual of Instruction Challenge: Local governmental entities are sometimes unclear on UDOT and NEPA requirements and time frames. Solution: Developed the environmental chapter for the Local Government Manual of Instruction.
Summary of Comments & Responses Challenge: Problems have been experienced in tracking comments and responses in the environmental study phase. Solution: Develop a standard comment and response process.
Development of an EA Guidance Manual Challenge: The current guidance (FHWA T6640.8A) for the development of EAs is outdated and does not address many new requirements. Solution: Develop a guidance manual for EAs that includes all current issues, applicable Executive Orders and requirements
Determining Realistic Schedules for EAs and EISs Challenge: Schedules for environmental studies are often critical path activities.
Determining Realistic Schedules for EAs and EISs Solution: Develop a CPM schedule template for EAs and EISs to assist in predicting time frames. Identify all tasks Determine dependency of tasks Identify key milestones Build in review time Allow time for re- submittals Estimate task duration
Separate out EAs and EISs from the Design/Construction Phase Challenge: Complex environmental documents (EAs and EISs) were prepared in the design phase and often impacted the overall project schedule. Solution: Prepare EAs and EISs in the concept phase of projects, independent of the design phase.
Early reviews with FHWA at milestone points Challenge: Early coordination is vital in order to maintain project schedules. Solution: Hold meetings at critical milestone points to consult with lead agencies on proposed methodologies and impacts analysis techniques.
Milestone Review Checklist: Purpose and Need Alternatives Environmental Consequences
Description of Roles and Responsibilities Challenge: Roles and responsibilities of DOT environmental staff are not always clear. Solution: A Quality Improvement Team was formed that studied the variety of activities performed by environmental staff and best ways to increase efficiencies.
Process outline for QC/QA reviews Challenge: The quality of some environmental documents submitted for review is lacking. Solution: Develop a list of process activities and milestone points when quality control and quality assurance should take place.
Process outline for QC/QA Reviews
Summary of Quality Improvement Solutions to Date Local Government Manual of Instruction Summary of comments & responses Development of an EA Guidance Manual Determining realistic schedules for EAs and EISs Separate out EAs and EISs from the Design Phase Early reviews with FHWA at milestone points Description of roles and responsibilities Process outline for QC/QA reviews
Next Steps: Continue Team Efforts Complete High Priority Items Distribute Completed Items: Items to Internal & External Customers Provide Description & Information in Monthly Newsletters Evaluate Results of Implemented Improvements Begin Medium Priority Items