Session A7

NEPA Studies for the I-495 and I-270 P3 Program: Lessons Learned During One Federal Decision and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Eric Almquist, AICP, PWS & Karen Kahl, PE, PTOE

11:00 – 12:30 PM (PT) | 2:00 – 3:30 PM (ET)

About the Presentation

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration's I-495 and I-270 P3 Program is one of the largest NEPA transportation efforts currently underway in the United States. The program consists of two separate efforts: the I495/I-270 NEPA EIS and the I-270 Pre-NEPA Activities. The program was initiated under One Federal Decision, which has now been rescinded; and critical portions of the public involvement have been conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation will describe some of the challenges and successful approaches used "for both Pre-NEPA and NEPA investigations" that are directly applicable to future NEPA studies. The presentation will focus on lessons learned regarding concurrent agency coordination and virtual public engagement while advancing NEPA on an aggressive schedule.

NEPA Track, 1.5 AICP Credits

About the Speakers

Eric Almquist, AICP, PWS
Director, Transportation

Eric oversees RK&K's NEPA Environmental Planning practice as a Director in the Transportation Planning Group. He has led development of more than 100 NEPA documents, including EISs for some of the most complex NEPA transportation projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. Recently he has served as consultant Project Manager for the I-270 Pre-NEPA activities currently underway by the MDOT State Highway Administration. Eric holds Bachelor's degrees in Agricultural Sciences and Political Science from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Science in Forest Ecology from Texas A&M University.

Karen Kahl, PE, PTOE
Director, Transportation

Karen is a director in RK&K's Transportation Planning Group in Baltimore, MD. She has a broad range of experience from planning studies through final design including major multi-modal corridor studies; urban streetscape studies; toll feasibility studies; NEPA environmental studies; and extensive public outreach initiatives. She is currently the consultant Project Manager for the 48-mile I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study in Maryland, the largest NEPA Study in the state's history. She has held active roles in WTS, ACEC, TRB, and ITE throughout her career. Karen is a professional engineer and a professional traffic operations engineer. She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in Civil from Texas A&M University.