Environmental Assessment (EA)

  • August 2021
    • Environmental Assessment completed with a Finding of No Significant Impact

Please note, the following documents are very large and may take several minutes to download.

Needs Assessment (NA) - Completed in 2004

The NA document analyzed existing conditions along the study corridor as well as existing and potential future issues.

WisDOT environmental information

WisDOT works to balance the department's transportation responsibilities with the environment. Impacts to the environment that result from transportation projects are avoided when possible. When avoidance is not possible the department works to mitigate impacts to the environment when appropriate. Examples of possible mitigation could be restoration of an area once construction activities have been completed, or development of an off site mitigation bank system, banking systems are often developed to mitigate wetland impacts. More information is available about WisDOT environmental processes.

Study background

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was completed for the corridor at the end of 2013 but was not published due to federal fiscal constraint requirements. The federal fiscal constraint requirement applied to WisDOT environmental studies requires funding for the next major action to advance the project within a reasonable timeframe. Based on statewide priorities, it was determined that the US 51 corridor alternatives proposed in the DEIS would not receive funding for the next major action to advance the project.

Options were investigated to fund a fiscally constrained improvement project that would address the existing safety, operations, and pavement issues on the corridor while still addressing the purpose and need of the study. It was determined that the most effective course of action was to modify the existing DEIS into two separate environmental documents: an EA to address near-term corridor needs and a Tier 1 EIS that would address long-term corridor needs.

In December 2015, WisDOT proposed the removal of the Tiered EIS process from the US 51 study documentation because funding for Tier 1 EIS improvements is not anticipated within the planning horizon. It could be 30+ years before improvements recommended in the Tier 1 EIS might align with funding. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) agreed to removal of the Tier 1 EIS from the study in February 2016.

In March 2016 it was determined that due to statewide priorities and funding limitations the US 51 project would not be able to obtain funding for final design and construction in 2016. As a result of the project funding delay, the completion of the study had been postponed.

In spring 2019, WisDOT resumed the study. The EA was signed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on November 24, 2020. The study team will continue to coordinate with interested parties, local officials, agencies, and committees.

On August 17, 2021, FHWA approved a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the preferred alternative. This completes the US 51 corridor study.