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I5: South Jefferson to U.S. 20 Environmental Assessment: Overview
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 Project Summary

The I-5: South Jefferson to U.S. 20 Environmental Assessment project is focused on a six-mile stretch of I-5 in northern Linn County, Oregon between mile post 239 and mile post 233. This section of I-5 serves Millersburg, Albany, and rural Linn County, and currently includes five interchanges: South Jefferson, Viewcrest, Murder Creek, Knox Butte, and US 20. This section of interstate and its interchanges do not function well, which creates vehicle movement conflicts on I-5 and affects access to businesses and homes in the area. These transportation problems are expected to get worse in the future as the region continues to grow.
 
Actions proposed by ODOT include the following:
·          Add an additional travel lane in each direction on the interstate.
·          Construction of a new Millersburg interchange at approximately mile point 236.6.
·          Removal of the existing Viewcrest and Murder Creek interchanges after completion of the Millersburg interchange.
·          Addition of a southbound on-ramp at the Knox Butte interchange.
·          Improved connectivity between the Knox Butte and U.S. 20 interchanges.
·          Other improvements to interchanges and the local street system to ensure efficient and safe operation of the interchange areas and interstate.
 
Maps showing the Build Alternative are available in the Project Library.
 
Together these actions are referred to as the “Build Alternative” in the Environmental Assessment. Potential impacts resulting from the Build Alternative are summarized in the Environmental Assessment. When completed, the Environmental Assessment will guide transportation construction in this segment of I-5 over the next 20 years.
 
Currently this project is in the planning phase and construction funds have not been identified.

 

Background
The Millersburg and Albany I-5 Corridor Refinement Plans, completed in 2006 and 2008, identified current and future problems in this segment of I-5, including congested conditions on the interstate and adjoining roadways, substandard interchange spacing, and substandard geometrics on interchange ramps. The Millersburg and Albany I-5 Corridor Refinement Plans were used to inform the development and evaluation of alternatives in the Environmental Assessment. You can find these plans in the Project Library.
 
ODOT will request federal money to fund construction projects on this section of I-5. Through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the federal government requires a detailed evaluation and disclosure of a federally funded project’s potential environmental impacts for decision making purposes and before any construction can occur. The Environmental Assessment is required by NEPA.
 
Development of the Environmental Assessment began with a re-examination of current and future conditions for this segment of I-5 to develop the Purpose and Need statement for the proposed Build Alternative. Development and refinement of the Purpose and Need (and Project Goals and Objectives) and the Build Alternative was conducted with involvement of local partners, agencies, and the public. A Project Development Team with representatives of the Federal Highway Administration, ODOT, City of Albany, City of Millersburg, and Linn County was formed to facilitate agency coordination and to direct project development at the technical level. A Stakeholder Advisory Team with representatives of local agencies, area businesses, neighborhood associations, and interested citizens was formed to provide input on development of the Purpose and Need, the Build Alternative, and the technical evaluation of potential impacts resulting from the Build Alternative. Additional public input during development of the Environmental Assessment was received through open houses, neighborhood meetings, and presentations to area boards and commissions.
 
Current Status
ODOT is currently working to complete the Environmental Assessment, which will summarize analysis of the potential impacts of the Build Alternative on the natural and human environment. The Environmental Assessment will be available for public review and comment in December 2014. In addition, ODOT will hold a public hearing and presentation in early 2015 to solicit public input on the EA and build alternative. During this review process, ODOT will respond to concerns and comments and examine ways that potential impacts of the build alternative may be avoided or minimized.