The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) have completed a re-evaluation of flood easement areas for Section 2 of the I-69 project from SR 64 near Oakland City in Gibson County to US 50 near Washington in Daviess County. The I-69 project is a four lane interstate highway on mostly new terrain that will link Evansville, Indiana with Indianapolis, Indiana. The Section 2 Tier 2 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was approved on February 25, 2010 and its Notice of Availability published in the Federal Register on March 5, 2010. The Section 2 Record of Decision (ROD) was approved on April 30, 2010. Since the publication of the above documents, flood easements associated with final design refinements have been identified. A public notice advertising this design change was in the Washington Times Herald on July 23, 2010. Subsequent policy changes have occurred since the July 23rd publication and a revised reevaluation has been completed. Comments are being solicited on the revised reevaluation.
The final design of Section 2 requires approximately 23.88 acres of permanent flood easement acquisition on land not previously flooded. These flood easements will accommodate the increased backwater generated during the regulatory flood, as defined by 312 IAC 10-2-35, resulting from the final Section 2 design. There are seventeen bridge crossings at twelve locations within Section 2 where flood easements will be acquired on a total of 114 parcels. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing East Fork Keg Creek, located west of Gibson CR 950 E, immediately east of I-69, total 1.08 acres consisting of forested wetland and agricultural land. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing Buck Creek, located east of I-69 and north and south of Gibson CR 000 (Baseline Road), total 0.93 acre consisting of agricultural land and a residential lot. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing Hurricane Creek, located east of Gibson CR 1150 E and west of Hurricane Creek, total 0.27 acre consisting of entirely agricultural land. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing unnamed tributary of Flat Creek, located west of I-69 and south of Pike CR 50 S, total 0.93 acre consisting of agricultural land, existing transportation use, and forest. The flood easements associated with Pike CR 600 N crossing unnamed tributary of Lick Creek, located south of the Pike CR 600 N connector to SR 57 and east of Pike CR 200 E, total 0.26 acre of forest and agricultural land. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing Mud Creek, located east of I-69 and north of Pike CR 650 N, total 0.14 acre consisting of agricultural land and forest. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing the East Fork White River, located east of I-69 and north and south of the White River extend east to the SR 257 bridge crossing the East Fork White River total 14.88 acres, consisting of agricultural, existing transportation use, forest, and residential land. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing Veale Creek and I-69 crossing unnamed tributary of Veale Creek, located east of I-69 and west of Horrall Rd, and LSR-24 crossing unnamed tributary of Veale Creek, located west of I-69 and north of Daviess CR 300 S, total approximately 0.89 acre of forest, agricultural land, and residential lots. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing Hurricane Branch, located east of I-69 and north and south of Daviess CR 150 S, total 4.42 acres, consisting of wetland forest, agricultural land, and pasture land. The flood easements associated with I-69 crossing unnamed tributary of Hurricane Branch, located east of the US 50 interchange and south of US 50, total 0.07 acre consisting entirely of agricultural land.
Flood easements will also be acquired on approximately 5,836 acres of land on 195 parcels within the existing floodplain of the East Fork White River and Veale Creek in which a minor increase in water depth (greater than 0.14 feet but not greater than 1.00 feet) will occur during a regulatory flood. The acquisition of permanent flood easements within the existing floodplain is a policy decision made subsequent to the original flood easement reevaluation. Per IC-14-28-1-22, flood easements will be acquired for all areas within the existing floodplain which will be inundated more than an additional 0.14 feet as a result of the final design of bridge crossings which will require a Construction in a Floodway Permit from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The additional inundation may not exceed 1.00 feet.
The environmental impacts on all flood easement areas have been considered. Due to the short duration and infrequent nature of the anticipated increased backwater (due to their low probability of occurrence), the resulting flooding and acquisition of the flood easements is not anticipated to result in any change to the existing land uses on these areas. It has also been determined that these flood easements will have no effects on historic resources or archaeological resources.
The permanent flood easement areas will experience infrequent temporary impacts due to floodwater inundation on predominantly agricultural and forested areas. These temporary impacts will not require additional mitigation measures beyond commitments in the Tier 2 FEIS. Therefore, the additional flood easements resulting from the final design will not have significant impacts on the natural and human environments. The analysis presented in the Section 2 Flood Easement reevaluation confirms that the final design for Section 2 does not require the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) or an additional Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
Representatives from INDOT and the team selected to complete design work for this section maintain daily office hours in the Washington Project Office (located at 60 North Commercial Park Drive) and are available for questions or comments. Questions or comments pertaining to Section 2 or other parts of the project may also be directed to the project website. The reevaluation document has been made available for comment and can be viewed at the Project Office in Washington or on the Project Website at www.i69indyevn.org. The views of the public on the flood easement design are being sought. Please reply no later than November 24, 2010. Please reply to the contact listed below.
Nov. 9, 2010