Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

Sakonnet River Bridge, Portsmouth & Tiverton, Rhode Island

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)? 


  Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process:

What is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

All public works projects have impacts on the community in which they are built.  Each alternative considered has vastly different effects on various aspects of that community, and the purpose of the EIS is to evaluate those alternatives, with all of the impacts and implications, and recommend a preferred alternative that will meet the purpose and needs of the project while considering how that alternative will impact the community.

CLICK HERE to see the Purpose and Needs of this project.

In order to evaluate all of the practical alternatives that are available for the rehabilitation or replacement of the Sakonnet River Bridge, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being developed.

An EIS is prepared in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to examine all of the environmental and socioeconomic impacts that would result from the implementation of potential alternatives. 

Through an interactive process with the community and regulatory agencies such as FHWA, US Coast Guard, and RI Coastal Resources Management, each alternative for either full rehabilitation or complete replacement is evaluated.  Determining the impacts on such important aspects is accomplished through a number of studies such as:

  • potential relocations and right-of-way acquisitions

  • socioeconomic impacts

  • traffic disturbance impacts

  • pedestrian and bicycle access

  • cultural resources

  • navigation requirements

  • historical & archaeological preservation

  • wetlands, floodplains, water quality, fisheries & wildlife

  • visual impacts / bridge structure type

  • financial analysis / toll

  • hazardous waste / hazardous materials

  • air quality

  • noise


How does the EIS process work?

The EIS process for the Sakonnet River Bridge Project began with a ‘Notice of Intent’, which notified all interested parties that an EIS was to be prepared for the project.

Following the ‘Notice of Intent’, a Scoping Meeting was held in October 1999.  The purpose of the Scoping Meeting was to describe the project to potentially affected agencies and citizens, and to define the scope of the EIS.

A public comment period was held open for 45 days after the Scoping meeting, during which time written comments were received from agencies, municipalities, and the public.  Based on the input received during the scooping process, RIDOT identified the concerns of the affected agencies and citizens, identified the cooperating agencies, and defined the issues and potential alternatives that would be evaluated in the EIS.

Subsequent to the comment period, a preliminary conceptual study was conducted to identify alternatives, identify impacts, study alignments, investigate right-of-way requirements, develop preliminary estimates, and study potential structure types for new bridge alternatives.  During this conceptual study, several alternatives were evaluated and removed from further consideration.  In addition, 5 alternatives were selected for further detailed evaluation in the EIS.  More details are available in Chapter 2 of the Draft EIS (DEIS). CLICK HERE to view the DEIS.

Information gathered throughout the Scoping Process and Preliminary Conceptual Study period was evaluated against the outlined Purpose and Needs of the project, as well as the project requirements. 

Each of the 5 alternatives was investigated in conjunction with the relative impacts of each as determined by the outlined studies.  This information was outlined and discussed in the Draft EIS (DEIS).  The DEIS recommends a preferred alternative and was made available to the public on July 13, 2001.  

CLICK HERE to view an overview of the alternatives as well as the recommended alternative.

A public and agency comment period will be held open for 45 days from July 13, 2001, and a Public Hearing will be held on September 7, 2001.

After consideration of comments received during the DEIS comment period, the preferred alternative will be further developed and evaluated during the Final EIS (FEIS).






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Last modified: January 12, 2005