Environmental studies and documentation
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires agencies using federal funding for a project prepare an environmental document. The NEPA process is intended to help public officials make decisions about infrastructure improvements with the knowledge of environmental consequences and opportunities for public input. Principle elements of the process include the preparation of environmental documentation, public involvement, and coordination with resource and regulatory agencies. The product of this effort was an environmental impact statement (EIS), which served as the basis for selection of a recommended solution for the I-74 corridor. An EIS has two major parts, the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and the final environmental impact statement (FEIS).
A DEIS was prepared for the I-74 improvements and was signed Oct. 30, 2003. In the DEIS, the Iowa and Illinois departments of Transportation identified two potential alternatives for the I-74 corridor. Following the DEIS, a preferred alternative was identified, refined and environmental impacts were evaluated further for inclusion in the FEIS. The FEIS was signed Jan. 8, 2009, and a record of decision (ROD) was signed by FHWA April 29, 2009, approving the selected alternative.