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I-95, Section 200 Project Planning

Location: Baltimore & Harford County, Maryland Client: Maryland Transportation Authority

JMT provided the full range of planning-level services, including environmental studies, engineering alternatives, travel demand forecasts, and right-of-way assistance, for the proposed expansion of 17 miles of I-95.

This study focused on improvements to 17 miles of Interstate 95 in northeast Maryland, including interchanges and access to the Maryland House Travel Plaza located in the median of I-95. The forecasted average daily traffic growth rates were expected to increase between 40 to 50 percent for portions of the study area.  The purpose of the planning study was to address capacity and safety needs on Section 200 and thereby improve access, mobility, and safety for local, regional, and inter-regional traffic, including passenger, freight, and transit vehicles. The study evaluated barrier-separated Express Toll Lanes and General Purpose Lanes.

JMT's environmental staff completed evaluations for two mainline alternatives, multiple interchange options for four interchanges, and ten proposed park and ride locations. The project area included several major river and stream crossings and resided within seven sub-watersheds. JMT conducted wetland delineation, large tree surveys and forest characterization along the Section 200 study area. This area included all Waters of the U.S. and wetlands within 200 feet of the edge of existing roadway, including 155 identified wetlands and 263 identified non-tidal Waters of the U.S.

 Environmental documentation included completion of Noise Technical Report; Air Quality Analysis; Cultural Resources and Section 106; Natural Environmental Technical Reports; and Community Effects Analysis; and culminated in approval of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI).  JMT prepared the Jurisdictional Determination (JD) Request Application and wetland delineation mapping in accordance with the requirements of the 2005 JD guidance/checklist. JMT also conducted the Jurisdictional Review with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completed the Joint Permit Application for the project, which included more than 120 impact plates. JMT staff conducted a preliminary search for wetland and stream mitigation opportunities, presented the mitigation strategy, and conducted a field review of potential sites and opportunities as part of the Agency Scoping Meeting and Preferred Alternative Conceptual Mitigation Package.

JMT traffic engineers performed travel demand forecasts and capacity analysis, evaluating general purpose lanes and express toll lanes at four interchange locations.  This included the development of an Interstate Access Point Approval report. They also provided environmental traffic services for air and noise analysis and an Indirect and Cumulative Effects Report, and assisted with EA/FONSI and public involvement.

JMT right-of-way agents assisted the planning team in evaluating right-of-way options. Cost estimates were completed for general purpose lane alternate, express toll lane alternate and various options at four interchange locations, and included partial and full acquisitions, damages, and relocations.  JMT also interpreted right-of-way and roadway construction plans, investigated questions involving partial taking severance damages, and conducted negotiations for both entire and partial acquisitions for eminent domain purposes.  

This major project included extensive public outreach efforts.  Critical to the success was the use of clear and concise graphics to depict the various engineering, environmental and community topics.  Activities included public meeting displays, focus group presentations, briefings with key stakeholders and elected officials, newsletters and brochures, and a web site.

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