This past Thursday, May 11, the Vermont Agency of Transportation and its engineering partner VHB held a public meeting in Middlebury at which it presented an overview of the results of its four-month-long Environmental Assessment of the Middlebury Rail and Bridge Project.
The EA, as it's known, evaluates the impacts of the project on 17 environmental resources. These resources range from wetlands and pedestrian and vehicular traffic to wildlife and hazardous/contaminated materials. For each resource area, the EA presents regulatory context, an assessment of impacts, and mitigation measures for managing those impacts.
VTrans released a draft EA document for a 30-day public review period on April 26. The public meeting, which was held at Town Hall Theater, provided the community with an opportunity to enter comments on the EA into the public record. The formal public meeting was preceded by a two-hour informational session in which the community had an opportunity to interact 1:1 with members of the project team.
Following the meeting, VTrans and VHB will prepare a final EA document, which will presented to the Federal Highway Administration for a final determination on whether the project can move forward or will have to undergo a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement. That decision is expected in August. FHWA is providing most of the funding for the project.
You can view the two-hour public meeting, which was recorded by MCTV, below. The PowerPoint presentation and the draft EA document itself are available at the VTrans Middlebury project website, which can be found at http://vtrans.vermont.gov/projects/middlebury.