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Development of an EA Guidance Manual Challenge: The current guidance (FHWA T6640.8A) for the development of EAs is outdated and does not address many new requirements.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.
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: Email Items to Internal & External Customers Provide Description & Information in Monthly Newsletters Evaluate Results of Implemented Improvements Begin Medium Priority Items