The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), requires that all federally funded highway projects undergo an environmental review to identify potential impacts. Some of the activities included in the environmental review process are:
- Identification and evaluation of impacts to historic structures and properties
- Exploration of project area to determine the presence of historic and pre-contact archaeological resources
- Identification and possible mitigation of hazardous material sites
- Evaluation of potential impacts to parkland and recreational areas
- Identification and possible protection of threatened and endangered species in the project area
- Identification and minimization of negative impacts to air, noise, and water quality in the project area and surrounding neighborhoods
See below for the status and key findings of the CPR Environmental Studies.
CP1 Construction includes traffic calming measures on Princeton Avenue
Construction of the new State Road on-ramp under the first phase of the project to improve the I-95/Cottman Avenue Interchange (I-95/CP1) allowed PennDOT to remove the existing southbound on-ramp from Princeton Avenue.
With the ramp removed, Princeton Avenue was then converted into a two-way road between Torresdale Avenue and State Road. During this conversion, a number of traffic-calming features – bicycle lanes, new sidewalks, curb bumpouts – also were installed along this stretch of Princeton Avenue.
What is traffic calming? Go here to find out more.
Historic Structures and Properties
The numerous structures and other resources within the project area that are considered historic require PennDOT to complete a Historic Resources Survey and Determination of Eligibility Report as part of the project development process for the new Cottman/Princeton Interchange of I-95. Also required is a follow-up study - a Determination of Effects Report - that will assess the effects that the proposed interchange redesign and realignment will have on the historic resources.
The potential for right-of-way acquisition from public parks, recreational areas, or historic properties* also required that PennDOT complete a Section 4(f) Evaluation for the Cottman/Princeton Interchange project. The Section 4(f) Evaluation was submitted for review after regulatory agencies approved the Determination of Effect Report.
*Special attention is being given to Russo Park and to the historic resources adjacent to proposed improvement areas that are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Section 4(f) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permits the use of publicly-owned parks, recreational areas, wildlife or waterfowl refuges, or any significant historic sites for transportation use only when it has been determined that
- There is no feasible and prudent alternative to such use, and
- The project includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the property resulting from such use.
Status: The Historic Resources Survey and Determination of Eligibility Report has been reviewed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). The Determination of Effects Report is currently being prepared. Preparation of the Section 4(f) Evaluation has begun. A draft version of the Section 4(f) Report will be submitted after submission of the draft Determination of Effects Report.
Archaeological studies are also necessary to ascertain the location of significant historic and prehistoric archaeological sites within the study area.
Status: A Phase IA Archaeological Survey has been completed within areas of proposed disturbance.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 requires federal agencies to consider the consequences of their programs, policies and projects on the environment. NEPA is considered the national charter for protection of the environment. It identifies broad environmental policies and requires an interdisciplinary approach to planning and decision-making.
The regulations developed under NEPA require different levels of environmental assessment based on the magnitude of impacts that are expected under any specific project, such as those currently underway on I-95. Projects expected to have significant environmental impacts usually require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Projects projected to have with lesser impacts usually require a Categorical Exclusion Evaluation (CEE). Projects expected to have no environmental impacts require an Environmental Assessment (EA).
Section CPR qualified for a CEE.
Other environmental and natural resources studies for the Cottman/Princeton Interchange project are focused mainly on hazardous and residual waste sites within the project area. A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment studying the presence of known or suspected contaminated sites was completed for the study area. The Site Assessment resulted in a recommendation to complete a more detailed Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.
Due to a lack of wetlands and waterways within the project study area, a Letter of No Wetland Finding was completed. If there were wetlands and waterways present in the project area, PennDOT would have to complete a Waters of the United States Identification and Delineation Report.
Status: The Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment were conducted during final design phase of the project.
No further natural resource studies are required for the project.