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August TEAC Meeting Removes C2 Bridge Corridor and MCB2 From Further Consideration

Page 5 of 11
Turnpike Environmental Agency Coordination Meeting – 08/10/10
MEETING MINUTES
Date: August 10, 2010
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
NC Turnpike Authority Office Board Room (Suite 400)
Project: STIP R-2576 Mid-Currituck Bridge Study – BRS-OOOS(35)
Mid-Currituck Bridge Spotlight:
Attendees:
Bill Biddlecome, USACE
Scott McLendon, USACE
Chris Militscher, USEPA
Gary Jordan, USFWS
Ron Sechler, NMFS (by phone)
Amy Simes, NCDENR (by phone)
Cathy Brittingham, NCDENR-DCM
Stephen Lane, NCDENR-DCM (by phone)
Kevin Hart, NCDENR-DMF (by phone)
Brian Wrenn, NCDENR-DWQ
David Wainwright, NCDENR-DWQ
Travis Wilson, NCWRC
Renee Gledhill-Earley, NCDCR-HPO (by
phone)
Steve Lambert, Albemarle Commission
(by phone)
Steve DeWitt, NCTA
Reid Simons, NCTA (by phone)
Jennifer Harris, NCTA
Lonnie Brooks, NCDOT-SDU
Missy Pair, NCDOT-PDEA
Brian Yamamoto, NCDOT-PDEA
Ted Devens, NCDOT-PDEA
Anne Gamber, NCDOT-Hydraulics Unit
BenJetta Johnson, NCDOT-TMS
Doug Taylor, NCDOT-Roadway Design
Sam St. Clair, NCDOT-Roadway Design
Herman Huang, NCDOT-HEU
Scott Slusser, NCDOJ
David Miller, PFM
Jose Luque, CDG-ACSID
Steve Browde, CDG-Lochner
Roy Bruce, CDG-Lochner
Kristin Maseman, CDG-Lochner
Spencer Franklin, HNTB
Christy Shumate, HNTB
Jerry McCrain, PBS&J
Roy Ferrell, PBS&J
John Page, PB
Bobby Norburn, PB
Presentation Materials: (All materials posted on the TEAC website)
• Meeting Agenda
• Handout 20 – Summary of Agency Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement
• Handout 21 – Summary of Public Participation and Comment
• Handout 22 – Summary of Positions and Additional Needs Derived from DEIS Comments
• Handout 23 – Preferred Alternative Identification Information Package
• Handout 24 – Financial Feasibility Assessment of the Mid-Currituck Bridge Project
• Financial Feasibility Assessment Presentation PowerPoint Slides
• Final Meeting Minutes for March 9, 2010, TEAC Meeting
Purpose:
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Preferred Alternative Identification Information Package and discuss “practicable” as it relates to project funding and selection of the LEDPA/Preferred Alternative.
NCTA (Jennifer Harris) stated that NCTA hoped that the agencies could agree with a LEDPA/Preferred Alternative by the conclusion of the meeting.
General Discussion:
The following information was discussed at the meeting:
• Handout 23 – John Page (PB) gave a brief description of the other handouts and their purpose, and then started going through Handout 23 in detail. He indicated that the Impacts Comparison Matrix in Handout 23 is directly from the DEIS, with only minor edits as discussed in the handout.

Turnpike Environmental Agency Coordination Meeting – 08/10/10
The matrix will be updated for the FEIS, as needed, as public and agency comments are addressed. John asked if there were any comments on the matrix. NCTA also asked if further review of Handouts 20 to 22 was needed. There were no further comments at this point.

John discussed the “Responses to Substantive Comments on the DEIS that Relate to the Selection of the Preferred Alternative” section of Handout 23 (starting on page 9). He pointed out that there were two decisions that need to be made, as shown at the top of page 9: 1) Selection of the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative; and 2) Selection of practicable design and construction avoidance, minimization, and mitigation strategies for the LEDPA. He
said that the decision on the LEDPA would be between the alternatives listed at the bottom of page 9 (i.e., ER2, MCB2, and MCB4), but also noted that the No-Build Alternative should also have been listed. He said that, as indicated in the DEIS, NCTA’s recommendation for the
Preferred Alternative is MCB4, but NCTA has not made a recommendation on the other components of the project (i.e., bridge corridor, Maple Swamp corridor, or hurricane evacuation option).
John said that, as indicated in Handout 23, the substantive public and agency comments related to the practicability of ER2, MCB2, and MCB4 relate to availability of funding and alternative preferences.
• Handout 24 – David Miller with PFM discussed the financial feasibility of the proposed project (Handout 24), using a PowerPoint presentation (available on the TEAC website). With respect to the potential sources of funding for the proposed project (slides 5 to 8), David said that TIFIA funds are not likely available for the Mid-Currituck Bridge (TIFIA funds were available for the Triangle Expressway). Private equity is being considered for this project. He added that the source of the private equity is at a “risk” position (i.e., they receive profit only after all other costs have been covered). ER2 is not included in this analysis because there is no funding for improvements associated with ER2 in the current STIP and it cannot be paid for with toll revenues.

USACE asked about the availability of future STIP funds for improvements associated with ER2.
NCDENR-DCM asked if there was the possibility of special Legislative Appropriations for improvements such as with ER2 since the Legislature often makes these types of appropriations. NCTA noted that it is doubtful NCDOT would program money for these improvements in the
future because there is no local political or public will for improvements associated with ER2 to be implemented with or without a bridge.
USACE asked about the possible shortfall in funding indicated on slide 10. NCTA responded that the different components that could be selected for each alternative lead to the range in costs as shown. With MCB4, if the most expensive combination of components are chosen, we could end up with a project that is not fundable. As shown on the slide, approximately $600 to $700 million is the range of funding available to finance the project. However, interest rates are an unknown variable that could impact the funding of the project if they were to rise substantially in the near future.
NCTA said that hopefully David’s presentation helps to address past agency questions on project funding. Steve asked if NCTA had adequately explained the funding of the proposed project.
USACE asked about the use of toll revenues chart on slide 9. David explained in more detail the meaning of the blue, green, and red graphs shown on the chart. In response to a question from NCDENR-DCM, it was explained that the large red “spike” in operations and maintenance costs in about 2050 was because the bridge is expected to need a major deck rehabilitation around that time. The shorter red increments represent routine maintenance on the bridge, whereas the higher red increments represent “major” rehabilitation projects. USACE asked about the increase in the blue in relationship to the red by the later years in the chart. It is the result of the expected increase in the toll rate, as well as the expected increase in ADT using the bridge. It was asked why this difference does not “level out” around 2035 when
the Outer Banks is expected to be built-out. It is because of the continued toll increase that is built into the forecasting model. USACE asked about the current estimated for the toll rate. NCTA responded that the current estimated toll rate varies by time of day and time of year, and that these assumptions are all included in the model.

NCDENR-DCM asked where the state appropriation for the project of $28 million comes from. NCTA discussed the various funding sources (i.e., the mobility, gap, and general funds). NCDENR-DCM asked when bonds get issued for the project. David responded that bonds are
issued once the project is known to be feasible. NCTA added that risk issues, such as obtaining permits, must be resolved before bonds are issued.
• Handout 23 (continued) – PB discussed the alternative preferences section of the handout starting on page 10, including NCTA’s recommendation for MCB4 as part of the LEDPA (page 11). USACE asked what the summary of public comments in Handout 21 revealed with respect to this decision. PB went through the statistics in Handout 21 related to public preferences for the detailed study alternatives. He noted that MCB4 had the highest stated public preference of the detailed study alternatives. He also said that the summary of public preferences shown in Handout 21 is based on the questions asked on the handout that was distributed at the public
hearings. Bridge Corridor – C1 vs. C2: PB reviewed the section starting on page 11 related to the decision between bridge corridors C1 and C2, noting that in response to public concern expressed at the
hearings related to the business displacements identified in the DEIS at TimBuck II with C2, the C2 corridor had been re-designed to avoid these businesses. Therefore, these business displacements are no longer a factor in the decision between the two bridge corridors. Based on the factors discussed in the handout related to the two bridge corridors, NCTA recommends that C1 be chosen as part of the LEDPA (see bottom of page 11). This recommendation means that
MCB4/C1 is NCTA’s recommendation for the LEDPA.

Hurricane Evacuation Options: PB discussed the hurricane evacuation strategy section of Handout 23 starting on page 12. A meeting was scheduled for August 19, 2010, with Dare and Currituck County emergency management officials to get input on the strategies discussed in the DEIS because the local officials did not provide any comments during the public comment period.

John said that his impression from previous meetings with these officials was that they preferred the operational solution, as opposed to building new lanes for hurricane evacuation. In addition, there were comments from the public expressing concern about the cost of building new lanes for hurricane evacuation. Based on these factors, NCTA is leaning towards recommending an operational solution, but will withhold giving an official recommendation at least until after the
meeting with local officials. NCTA will supply information on the results of the meeting with local officials to the agencies.

Design Considerations – Option A vs. Option B: PB reviewed the selection of practicable design and construction avoidance, minimization, and mitigation strategies section at the bottom of page
12 of the handout and the crossing Maple Swamp on bridge or fill section on page 13. USFWS asked about public preference related to access with Options A and B. PB responded that the public was very opposed to the access provided to Aydlett with Option B. NCTA said that the bottom line is that the public does not want any additional access to be provided to Aydlett with the proposed project – they want to stay as isolated as possible. The public wants to keep their
current access via Aydlett Road, as well as to save money by building the project across the swamp on fill. Public perception is that because Aydlett Road was repaved this summer, it would be wasteful to remove it. PB noted that given the limited funding sources discussed earlier that are available to build the project, and that approximately $80 million would be saved by building the project on fill across the swamp, we have to carefully weigh the design components of Option
A and/or Option B that will be included. We also have to weigh public concerns versus agency concerns, which are opposite with respect to the design components of Options A and B. PB asked if there were possibly other better options to mitigate impacts to Maple Swamp than
building a bridge across the swamp. For example, would preserving other areas of the swamp be a better solution? He also mentioned that the possibility of reducing the length of NC 12 that would be improved with MCB4, while still adequately serving forecast traffic demand, was being considered as a potential way to decrease the cost of the project. NCTA will provide additional information about the impacts of these two options, as well as investigate other possible options.

Preferred Alternative Discussion: NCTA noted that before continuing with discussion of specific construction techniques, it would be beneficial to consider eliminating some of the alternatives
from consideration. NCTA would like to be able to document agency agreement on the Preferred Alternative, but the agencies will not be asked to sign a formal agreement. Agencies did not feel comfortable selecting a Preferred Alternative or LEDPA without additional information on construction techniques and impacts of the bridge alternatives, particularly as they compare to ER2. NCDENR-DCM and USACE noted that without information about potential impacts from
construction, including dredging, they can not be sure that a bridge alternative is the LEDPA or is permittable.

All agencies agreed to eliminate MCB2 from further consideration. MCB2 has the most impacts, does not have any public support, and can not be funded at this time. NCDENR-DCM and NCWRC also indicated a preference for the C1 bridge corridor. All agencies present and on the
phone agreed with this recommendation, and C2 was eliminated from further consideration.
Agencies requested that ER2 be retained for additional comparison with MCB4. Agencies requested additional information on construction techniques, including filling versus bridging in Maple Swamp, dredging in the Sound, and stormwater management; avoidance and minimization; and funding for MCB4. Agencies agreed that no additional information is needed for ER2 at this time. NCTA requested that if agencies require additional information on ER2, to let NCTA know as soon as possible. NCTA will plan to present detailed impacts on MCB4/C1 at the September 2010 TEAC meeting.

NCDENR-DCM pointed out that page 5 of the impacts matrix has a possible mistake. It appears that some of the impact acreages are either switched or shifted to the right by one column. NCDENR-DCM also said that she wants to further discuss CAMA AEC impacts at some time.
USEPA asked about stormwater management issues with a bridge alternative, noting that trying to resolve this issue has caused delays for other recent coastal projects. USEPA indicated that they would like more than just a stormwater management plan because long-term stormwater impact to the sound is a major USEPA concern. USEPA believes that the cumulative stormwater impact to the sound over an extended period is a significant issue, as the sound has already
experienced degradation in water quality from the cumulative impact of pollutants in stormwater runoff over time. NCTA said that Matt Lauffer, NCDOT Stormwater Program, would be at the September TEAC meeting to discuss the results of the NCDOT-sponsored stormwater study,
which show that it does not appear that collecting stormwater runoff over the entire length of the bridge is practicable (i.e., the benefit for the cost is not good according to the study).

USACE asked for clarification as to the outcome of today’s meeting. NCTA summarized that the team had agreed to eliminate MCB2 and C2 as components of the LEDPA/Preferred Alternative, and to retain MCB4/C1 and ER2 because the agencies want more information on components of MCB4 so that we can better compare the impacts of these alternatives.
USACE cautioned about discussing mitigation (in terms of preservation of Maple Swamp) as part of the LEDPA selection. NCTA recognizes that it is not proper to discuss the cost and benefits of the money spent to build the bridge versus mitigation. Avoidance, followed by minimization, and finally mitigation is the proper sequence for these discussions.

Previous Action Items:
• None.

New Action Items:
• NCTA will provide additional information on MCB4/C1 construction options and impacts and discuss at the September 2010 TEAC meeting.
• NCTA will supply information on the results of the meeting with local governments regarding hurricane evacuation options to the agencies.
• Agencies provide comments on Handout 23, and other handouts, in accordance with the Project Coordination Plan.
• Agencies will let NCTA know if they require additional information on ER2 as soon as possible.

Resolutions:
MCB2 was eliminated from further consideration as part of the LEDPA/Preferred Alternative.
• The C2 bridge corridor was eliminated from further consideration as part of the LEDPA/Preferred Alternative.
Next Steps:
• TEAC meeting – September 8, 2010

3 comments to August TEAC Meeting Removes C2 Bridge Corridor and MCB2 From Further Consideration

  • Mary E. Riley

    No bridge is preferred environmentally and financially. Why is this bridge needed for the 8 weekends a year the roads are crowded? Evacuation has never been a problem for those leaving as long as the state police control the NC12/US158 intersection.

  • Linda Garczynski

    It would appear that the USEPA comments as wells as my own have been given short shrift. The issues of stormwaters management, mitigation techniques and financial viability have not been adequately addressed. Contingency planning by Dare and Currituck Counties can more effectively accomodate evacuations with state police participation. This bridge is a boondoggle.

  • Mack Pierce

    Where are the camera’s now.. Anyone that invested in this will lose. and the state will have to take over the cost.. You are putting more development in harms way. As the Global warming takes it’s effect on all N.C. beaches . The Ocean is on the rise due to this Global warming.and any storm can flood out the beaches and cost the state.

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