An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a study that determines the effects of a proposed improvement before it is carried out. An EA identifies the potential environmental effects and proposes measures to minimize adverse effects. During the EA process, the Purpose and Need of the study is defined, existing conditions are described, transportation alternatives are evaluated, and the environmental and cultural impacts of each alternative are analyzed. The result of the analysis is the selection of a preferred alternative based on factors such as environmental resource impacts and engineering feasibility.
Public participation is an important element of the EA process. The Central Avenue at BRC Railroad Grade Separation Study will follow the IDOT CSS approach to public involvement. You can read more about the CSS process here.
If, after completing the EA, it is determined that there are no significant impacts associated with the proposed improvements, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be prepared to conclude the process. If, during any stage of the process of preparing the EA, significant environmental impacts are discovered, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared. An EIS is a document required for federal funding resulting in significant adverse impacts to the natural and human environment.