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Streamlined Permits Speed Construction
A New Way of Doing Business
More than half of the $2.96 billion in OTIA funding is dedicated to improving Oregon ’s aging bridges. In the coming decade, hundreds of  state-owned bridges on interstates, rural routes, and key coastal highways will be repaired or replaced.
 
When the Legislature approved OTIA funding, it set some conditions for ODOT: Keep traffic moving, outsource the work to stimulate the state’s economy, and use innovative practices to complete projects quickly and economically. To achieve these objectives, ODOT worked with state and federal regulators to develop a statewide environmental permitting program--the first statewide program of its kind in the nation.
 
As much as 30 percent of the engineering costs related to redesign may be saved by providing engineers with environmental site information and informing them of environmental performance goals before they start designing. This allows engineers to do what they do really well—solve problems efficiently. By completing most of the permitting in advance, one to two years have been shaved off the construction schedule which translates into monetary and time savings.
 

Wetlands image
Performance Standards Protect Resources
ODOT and regulators have set performance standards for storm water runoff, streams and wetlands, wildlife and fish habitat, noise and air quality, and historic/cultural resources. Meeting these standards helps ODOT obtain environmental permits more quickly while protecting the natural, historical and cultural values that make Oregon special.
 
About 85 – 90 percent of state bridge projects will meet the new statewide standards. ODOT will work closely with regulators on individual environmental permits for the remainder of the projects.
 
The streamlined permitting process for bridges is likely to spill over to ODOT’s other projects, speeding permits for highway improvements statewide.
 
Environmental streamlining ties into ODOT’s approach to Context-Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions. The department is avoiding, reducing and mitigating environmental impacts that result from the bridge projects. It is also working with communities and transportation stakeholders on the common issues and goals that arise from these projects.