Niles Canyon II Safety Improvement Project Comment Period has Re-Opened

Caltrans announces that it has officially reopened the review and comment
period for the Environmental Impact Report for the State Route 84 Niles
Canyon II Safety Improvement Project that was circulated for public review
in July 2010. Caltrans is now accepting comment until August 5, 2011.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is proposing a
safety-improvement project on State Route (SR) 84 in Niles Canyon, Alameda
Co., from 0.5 mile east of Palomares Road to the SR-84/Interstate 680
interchange in Sunol. Our records show that between 1999 and 2009, there
were 455 traffic collisions, 10 of which resulted in fatalities and 237 of
which resulted in injuries. Proposed safety improvements include 8-ft.
shoulders, center and shoulder rumble strips, and improved sight distances.
To make room, slopes will be cut back or filled in at several locations for
installation of approximately 1.8 miles of retaining walls.

As a member of the public, you may send comments to us about Caltrans
projects at any time. However, the official comment period is an
opportunity to have your comments recorded and addressed in the final
Environmental Document.

While you are able to voice your support or opposition for a project during
the official comment period, the most beneficial comments include the
following:

Specific alternatives or mitigation measures that would provide
better ways to avoid or mitigate any potential environmental effects
of the project
Concerns that are not previously addressed in the environmental
document
Inaccuracies or missing information
Statistical data or facts to support your concern

The public review process requires Caltrans to respond in the final
environmental document to these types of comments by making changes to the
final environmental document or the project design. If changes are not
possible, Caltrans is required to provide a detailed, good-faith, reasoned
explanation in the final environmental document.

Comments can be emailed to nilescanyonprojects@dot.ca.gov or sent by postal
mail to Caltrans District 4, Attn: V. Shearer, PO Box 23660 MS 8B, Oakland,
CA 94623-0660. Comments must be received by 5:00 PM on August 5, 2011.

The current draft environmental document is available online at
http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/nilescanyon/. Hard copies or compact disks may
be obtained by sending your name and mailing address to the above address.

Caltrans will form stakeholder committees comprised of representatives of
permitting agencies, local and state government officials, and involved
organizations. These committees will review and comment on proposed design
changes and updated studies. Additionally, they will propose strategies
for balancing traffic safety and environmental mitigation measures. Your
comments regarding this project will be considered during these committee
meetings.

We encourage you to share this information with anyone else you know who
may be interested in the project.

Useful links:

The CEQA Guidelines can currently be downloaded from the Association of
Environmental Professionals:
http://www.califaep.org/docs/CEQA/CEQAHandbook2011.pdf
California Scenic Highway Code:
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=shc&group=00001-01000&file=260-284
Caltrans Standard Environmental Reference:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/ser/
FHWA Technical Advisory T 6640.8A “Guidance for Preparing and Processing
Environmental and Section 4(f) documents”:
http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/projdev/impTA6640.asp
Visual Impact Assessment for Highway Projects, FHWA Office of Environmental
Policy:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/ser/downloads/visual/FHWAVisualImpactAssmt.pdf
Safety Evaluation of Lane and Shoulder Width Combinations on Rural,
Two-Lane, Undivided Roads:
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/safety/09031/index.cfm
FHWA 4(f) Policy Paper
http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/4f/4fpolicy.asp

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