Purpose and Need
The US Route 24 Eastbound (Quincy Memorial Bridge) project is subject to the requirements of Title 40 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR) Section 1502.13 and the National Environmenta>
The US Route 24 Eastbound (Quincy Memorial Bridge) project is subject to the requirements of Title 40 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR) Section 1502.13 and the National Environmental Policy Act-404 (NEPA-404) Merger Process.
40 CFR 1502.13 Purpose and Need states that “the statement shall briefly specify the underlying purpose and need to which the agency is responding in proposing the alternatives including the proposed action”.
The NEPA-404 Merger Process coordinates the review of complex transportation projects that impact wetlands and Waters of the U.S. requiring an individual Section 404 permit. The process coordinates the Purpose and Need with resource agencies and regulatory agencies to reach agreement (“concurrence”) before the project advances to the next stage of project development.
The project Purpose and Need explains to the public and decision makers that the expenditure of funds is necessary and worthwhile and that the priority the project is receiving relative to other needed highway projects is warranted. The Purpose and Need justifies why environmental impacts are acceptable based on the project’s importance and drives the process for consideration of alternatives, in-depth analyses, and ultimate selection.
Purpose and Need – US 24 Quincy Memorial Bridge
The purpose of the US Route 24 Eastbound (Quincy Memorial Bridge) project is to provide a transportation facility for eastbound traffic across the Mississippi River that is safe, reliable, structurally sound, and meets current design standards.
The need for the project is to address the structural, operational, and geometric deficiencies of the existing river bridge. Existing deficiencies are those roadway and structural elements not meeting current Federal Highway Administration or IDOT policies. The most recent structure ratings now categorize the existing bridge as both “functionally obsolete” and “structurally deficient” by federal standards.
A “structurally deficient” bridge is one with a structural deficiency rating of four (4) or less. This rating is a warning that structural bridge elements are deteriorating and in the case of the Quincy Memorial Bridge, the bridge has reduced load-carrying capacity. Although the structurally deficient label does not necessarily mean the bridge is unsafe, the structure is nearing the end of its expected service life and to remain in service, major rehabilitation or replacement would be required to address the deteriorating conditions and deficiencies.
A “functionally obsolete” bridge has geometric deficiencies, such as the deck width and vertical clearance that do not meet current design standards.
After presenting the project through the NEPA-404 Merger Process, Concurrence on the Purpose and Need was received on June 24, 2015.