Process & Schedule

Project Schedule

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The IL 131 project is being developed through IDOT's Phase I study process, which uses environmental and engineering studies to find solutions for transportation problems. The process begins with studying existing data and looking at transportation problems and needs. As the process moves along, new information is gathered, and alternative solutions are developed. Alternatives that don't address the transportation needs, don't meet the project goals, are too expensive or would cause too many impacts are removed from further study. The remaining alternatives are studied in greater detail until one, preferred alternative is chosen. Throughout this process, IDOT gathered input from the project stakeholders and the public.

The Phase I study process also meets the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), which requires federal agencies to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) when they are planning a project that may significantly affect the environment. The EA provides a complete picture of a project, from beginning to the end. It describes why the transportation project is needed, the alternatives that were studied, potential effects, and includes public and agency comments.

The EA is made available for the public to review, and a public hearing is held to present its conclusions. The project sponsor must consider all of the comments received during this process before making a final decision about the project. If the EA concludes that the proposed project will not result in any significant impacts, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be prepared. For transportation projects like IL 131, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is responsible for issuing a FONSI, which marks the end of the NEPA process and documents the decision.

IDOT also documents the technical aspects of the project in a Design Report. The issuance of a FONSI and approval of the Design Report conclude IDOT's Phase I study process. The final design and construction of the project then proceed based on funding availability.

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