[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 217 (Friday, November 8, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60472-60473]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-24327]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration


Environmental Impact Statement: Charleston County, South 
Carolina; Notice of Intent

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS).

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SUMMARY: The FHWA is issuing this notice of intent to advise the public 
that an Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared for a proposed 
highway project in Charleston County, South Carolina.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Emily O. Lawton, Division 
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, Strom Thurmond Federal 
Building, 1835 Assembly Street, Suite 1270, Columbia, South Carolina 
29201, Telephone: (803) 765-5411, Email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 
in cooperation with the South

[[Page 60473]]

Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), will be preparing an 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the I-526 West Lowcountry 
Corridor Improvements Project. The proposed project would make 
improvements to the I-526 corridor from Virginia Avenue to Paul 
Cantrell Boulevard in Charleston County, South Carolina. The purpose of 
the proposed project is to increase capacity and improve operations at 
the I-26/526 interchange and along the I-526 mainline from Virginia 
Avenue to Paul Cantrell Boulevard. The FHWA intends to issue a single 
Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD) document pursuant to the FAST 
Act Section 1311 requirements, unless FHWA determines statutory 
criteria or practicability considerations preclude issuance of a 
combined document.
    The I-526 and I-26 System-to-System interchange is a vital local 
connection, linking downtown Charleston, Summerville, West Ashley, and 
Mount Pleasant. I-26 links the Charleston area with the other major 
cities to the west like Columbia, Spartanburg, and Asheville, North 
Carolina, as well as with I-95, I-77, I-20, I-85, I-40, and I-81. In 
addition, I-526 provides the only freeway access to two important port 
terminals, the North Charleston terminal, and the Wando Welch terminal. 
Thus, I-526 is an important part of a network for transporting freight 
and commercial goods to and from the Port of Charleston and throughout 
the region.
    The Charleston region's population growth is three times the 
average of the United States. With the increased population growth, 
traffic congestion is anticipated to worsen over the next 20 years. 
SCDOT has currently ranked I-526 between I-26 and Virginia Avenue as 
the most congested interstate segment in South Carolina. In addition, 
I-526 between I-26 and Paul Cantrell Boulevard is currently ranked 
among the top ten of South Carolina's most congested interstate 
corridors. Improvements to the corridor are considered necessary to 
provide for the existing and projected traffic demand and to address 
the existing and projected future congestion.
    Alternatives under consideration will evaluate mainline widening 
options along with several interchange improvements at I-26/I-526, 
North Rhett Avenue, and Rivers Avenue in addition to the no-build 
alternative. The alternatives will be refined during the NEPA scoping 
process in consideration of agency and public comments received.
    The FHWA and SCDOT are seeking input as part of the scoping process 
to assist in identifying issues relative to this project and potential 
solutions. Letters describing the proposed action and soliciting 
comments are being sent to appropriate Federal, State, and local 
agencies, and to private organizations and citizens who have previously 
expressed an interest in this project. Agency coordination will involve 
monthly meetings and a public information meeting will be held on 
November 21, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the North Charleston 
Convention Center that will allow the public to comment on the scope of 
the EIS, the purpose and need, the alternatives under evaluation, 
environmental impacts to be considered, and potential mitigation 
measures.
    Further agency and community meetings will be held as the project 
is developed, and a public hearing will be conducted after the approval 
of the draft EIS. Public notice will be given of the time and place of 
the meetings and hearing. Meeting dates and locations will be posted on 
the project's website at https://www.526lowcountrycorridor.com/west/ 
and all known interested parties and the public will be notified via 
postcards.
    To ensure that the full range of issues related to this proposed 
action are addressed and all significant issues identified, comments 
are invited from all interested parties. Comments or questions 
concerning this proposed action and the EIS should be directed to the 
FHWA at the address provided above no later than January 4, 2020.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.205, 
Highway Planning and Construction. The regulations implementing 
Executive Order 12372 regarding intergovernmental consultation on 
Federal programs and activities apply to this program.)

    Dated: November 1, 2019.
Yolonda Jordan,
Assistant Division Administrator, Columbia, South Carolina.
[FR Doc. 2019-24327 Filed 11-7-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P