TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Comments are invited on the work described below. Please see the Public Involvement section for details on submitting comments.
Point of Contact. If additional information is desired, please contact the project manager, Johnny McLean, telephone number: (501) 324-5295, mailing address: Little Rock District Corps of Engineers, Regulatory Division, PO Box 867, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203-0867, e-mail address: Johnny.L.McLean@usace.army.mil.
Project Information. Pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S. Code 1344), notice is hereby given that the
Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD)
PO Box 2261
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
has requested authorization for the placement of dredged and fill material in waters of the United States associated with replacing the Broadway Bridge (U.S. Highway 70) and approaches crossing the Arkansas River in Little Rock and North Little Rock. The proposed project is located on the Arkansas River at Navigation Mile 119.1 in section 3, T. 1 N., R. 12 W., Pulaski County, Arkansas. Construction would be on existing alignment with the existing bridge to be demolished before construction of the new bridge.
The bridge over the navigable portion of the Arkansas River would require authorization from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in accordance with Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act. The existing bridge is supported by four piers in the river and has 331.3 feet of horizontal clearance for commercial navigation vessels. The new bridge would be supported by three piers in the river and would have 396.0 feet of horizontal clearance for commercial navigation vessels. The existing and proposed bridges have 62.4 feet of vertical clearance (at navigation pool elevation 231.0 feet mean sea level) for commercial navigation vessels. The public notice published by the USCG can be found at: www.navcen.uscg.gov
The AHTD’s stated purpose is to ensure that the Broadway Bridge will continue to safely provide for modern transportation needs across the Arkansas River. The bridge is considered structurally deficient due to the condition of the deck, superstructure and substructure, and is considered functionally obsolete due to its existing roadway and deficient access ramps. The project is water dependent.
The existing bridge was completed in 1923. It totaled 2,355 feet in length and its main spans consisted of five open spandrel arch deck spans with 37 reinforced concrete tee-beam approach spans. In 1974, two concrete arch spans were replaced with a single steel arch span to accommodate the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). The bridge has four 10-foot-wide lanes and two 8-foot-wide sidewalks; total width including railings is 60 feet. Current traffic volume on the bridge is approximately 24,000 vehicles per day. Traffic is forecasted to increase to 35,000 vehicles per day by 2035. The AHTD plans to remove the existing bridge with explosives and excavators. The majority of existing steel would be removed and the concrete substructure would be dropped into the Arkansas River by use of explosives. Approximately 12,000 cubic yards of concrete would be deposited into the river and approximately 8,000 cubic yards of that concrete would be recovered with excavators or clamshell buckets. The proposal to utilize explosives was made in order to reduce the time that the navigation channel would be closed and reduce overall demolition/construction time.
The new bridge would be a plate girder design consisting of two 448-foot basket-handle, network, tied arches that span the Arkansas River. The total length of the bridge, including approaches, would be 2,373 feet. It would have a concrete deck supported by steel substructure, and the roadway would consist of four 11-foot-wide travel lanes, and a 16-foot-wide shared use path on the eastern side. The shared use path would be protected from motor vehicle traffic by a concrete barrier.
Construction of the new bridge is expected to take a minimum of 18 months. Two temporary pile-supported work platforms would be constructed; one would be located on the south bank and west side of the bridge, the other would be located on the north bank and east side of the bridge. The primary effect from bridge construction would be disruption of motor vehicle traffic operations during construction. The bridge would permanently impact 0.14 acres of the Little Rock Julius Breckling Riverfront Park and 0.43 acres of the North Little Rock Riverfront Park. The AHTD, City of Little Rock and City of North Little Rock have agreed to mitigation measures for the impacts to these parks. A special provision would be made part of the contract to minimize harm to migratory birds, such as swallow and phoebes, that periodically utilize the bridge for nesting. Impacts to the floodplain would be minimal and would not significantly increase flood heights.
The AHTD would coordinate with the USCG and Little Rock District Corps of Engineers to insure that there would be only minor impacts to commercial navigation on the MKARNS during demolition and construction. There are no wetland impacts and impacts to water quality should occur only during demolition and should be temporary; therefore, no mitigation would be required.
An existing gas transmission line on the bridge would be relocated. An existing water line, telephone lines and other communication lines would be placed on the new structure or an adjacent bridge. No Federal threatened or endangered species would be impacted. No businesses or residences would be relocated, and there would be no impacts to historic properties. The Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluated five alternatives, including the no action alternative. The EA was completed by the AHTD on August 7, 2012, and the Federal Highway Administration issued the Finding of No Significant Impact on September 5, 2013. A copy of these documents can be viewed at the AHTD’s central offices in Little Rock and a lot of this information can be viewed on the AHTD’s website at: http://www.arkansashighways.com/broadwaybridge.aspx.
The location, general plan and conceptual drawings for the proposed work are shown on the enclosed Sheets 1 through 11 of 11.
Water Quality Certification. By copy of this public notice, the applicant is requesting water quality certification from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in accordance with Section 401(a)(1) of the Clean Water Act. Upon completion of the comment period and a public hearing, if held, a determination relative to water quality certification would be made. Evidence of this water quality certification or waiver of the right to certify must be submitted prior to the issuance of a Corps of Engineers permit.
Cultural Resources. A Corps staff archeologist would review topographic maps, the National Register of Historic Places, and other data on reported sites in the area. The District Engineer invites responses to this public notice from Native American Nations or tribal governments; Federal, State, and local agencies; historical and archeological societies; and other parties likely to have knowledge of or concerns with historic properties in the area. This public notice initiates consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act with any Tribe that has information or concerns with historic properties in the proposed permit area.
Endangered. SpeciesOur preliminary determination is that the proposed activity would not affect listed Endangered Species or their critical habitat. A copy of this notice is being furnished to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and appropriate state agencies and constitutes a request to those agencies for information on whether any listed or proposed-to-be-listed endangered or threatened species may be present in the area which would be affected by the proposed activity.
Flood Plain. We are providing copies of this notice to appropriate flood plain officials in accordance with 44 CFR Part 60 (Flood Plain Management Regulations Criteria for Land Management and Use) and Executive Order 11988 on Flood Plain Management.
Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. The evaluation of activities to be authorized under this permit which involves the discharge of dredged or fill material would include application of guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b) of the Clean Water Act. These guidelines are contained in 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 230.
Public Involvement. Any interested party is invited to submit to the above-listed POC written comments or objections relative to the proposed work on or before January 10, 2014. Substantive comments, both favorable and unfavorable, would be accepted and made a part of the record and would receive full consideration in determining whether this work would be in the public interest. The decision whether to issue a permit would be based on an evaluation of the probable impact including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision would reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefit which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal would be considered including the cumulative effects thereof; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, wetlands, historic properties, fish and wildlife values, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, recreation, water supply and conservation, water quality, energy needs, safety, food and fiber production, mineral needs, considerations of property ownership and, in general, the needs and welfare of the people.
The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, state, and local agencies and officials; Indian Tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. Any comments received would be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
Any person may request in writing within the comment period specified in this notice that a public hearing be held to consider this application. Requests for public hearings shall state, with particularity, the reasons for holding a public hearing. The District Engineer would determine if the issues raised are substantial and whether a hearing is needed for making a decision.
NOTE: The mailing list for this Public Notice is arranged by state and county(s) where the project is located, and also includes any addressees who have asked to receive copies of all public notices. Please discard notices that are not of interest to you. If you have no need for any of these notices, please advise us so that your name can be removed from the mailing list.
Approximate Coordinates of Project Center
UTM Zone: 15 Northing: 3845811 Easting: 566406