Session A7

I-11 Tier 1 EIS: Innovations in Partnerships and Technology

Laynee Jones, PE

2:15 – 3:45 PM ET

About the Presentation

Join this conversation to learn about the nuances of tiering and innovations in delivering this EIS for major infrastructure. We'll cover:

  • How tiering played out in the EIS
  • How the FHWA, ADOT, and consultant team collaborated to deliver the EIS during COVID
  • Complexities of 280 miles of alternatives and how they were distilled for public consumption
  • Condensed EIS format, bringing a Draft EIS over 3,000 pages long to around 400 in the Final EIS
  • New collaboration tools that will transform the future of NEPA (interactive EIS tool submitted to the AASHTO Innovation Initiative program for award consideration).

Background on I-11: The concept of a high-capacity transportation facility connecting Canada and Mexico through the western U.S. has been considered for more than 20 years. It was initially identified as the CANAMEX Trade Corridor, which was outlined in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, established under the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, and defined by Congress in the 1995 National Highway Systems Designation Act. The Federal Highway Administration and the Arizona Department of Transportation completed the I-11 Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the route through Arizona.

The project utilized a new environmental engagement platform for the final EIS deliverables.  This marked the first use of this technology on a transportation project in the U.S. Launched last year; it streamlined environmental documentation, added an additional innovative stakeholder engagement tool, and developed a living data and mapping repository by presenting highly technical information in an interactive online format.

After five years of study, technical analysis, and input from communities, tribes, and stakeholders, the publication of the Final Tier 1 EIS marked an important milestone for the proposed corridor.  We wish to share with our peers the benefits, hurdles, and lessons learned in order to advance the use of partnerships and technology in the NEPA process.

About the Speaker(s)

Laynee Jones, PE
Vice President, Transportation NEPA Group Lead

Laynee helps clients deliver transportation projects for the future, with a bold focus on equity, resilience, and innovation.  Her history in leading major NEPA transportation projects includes the Dallas to Houston High Speed Rail EIS and the I-11 Tier 1 EIS in Arizona.  She is a planner and an engineer with over 25 years experience in the transportation NEPA arena and leads AECOM’s transportation NEPA technical practice.  Laynee is currently focused on BRT and intercity rail projects. Laynee paved the way for digital and interactive innovation for NEPA by implementing the first fully interactive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the US for the I-11 Tier 1 EIS in Arizona in July 2021.

Steven Olmsted
Program Delivery Manager

Steve is the State of Arizona’s Department of Transportation Program Delivery Manager for Environmental Planning, NEPA Assignments, Innovative Programs, and Major Studies. He assists with delivering ADOT’s $1B annual construction program. He also manages programs for sustainable transportation, resilience, natural hazard and design engineering integration, and a USGS water modeling partnership. He is fortunate to assist FHWA, AASHTO, and TRB with national State DOT innovation adoption. Steve previously held several finance, budget, and resource management positions at ADOT.


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