(From press release) I-80 Yolo Widening project’s draft environmental documents, including the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), are now available for public comment. This project is to improve mobility in the I-80 corridor and this environmental study compares cost/benefits of alternatives, primarily focused on adding 16 miles of freeway lanes in each direction between Dixon and the 50-80 split.
The draft environmental documents are available for review through the State’s CEQA Clearinghouse here: https://ceqanet.opr.ca.gov/2021060117/4
The public is encouraged to comment on the scope, alternatives (were enough considered?), assumptions, and methods of the analysis as described in these draft study documents. For example, were traffic noise and localized air pollution addressed and mitigated? Were impacts appropriately described and effectively mitigated? These draft documents include the first Caltrans EIR in Northern California that must conform to new state law SB743 (Steinberg). This new law requires environmental impact studies to focus on the climate impact described as the GHG from the changes in vehicle miles traveled. Traffic congestion is no longer considered an important factor in the environmental analysis.
The draft documents will also be posted on the Caltrans “Yolo80 Improvements” webpage: https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-3/d3-projects/d3-i80-corridor-improvements. Yolo Transportation District (YoloTD) will post a link as well: www.YoloTD.org.
A hardcopy of the draft environmental documents can be viewed at:
- Caltrans District 3 Headquarters, 703 B Street, Marysville, Ca.
- Mary L Stephens Davis Branch Library, 315 E 14th Street, Davis
- Arthur F Turner Community Library, 1212 Merkley Avenue, West Sacramento
- Yolo Transportation District, 350 Industrial Way, Woodland
Caltrans has no plans currently to make the draft documents available at UC Davis, Winters, or Woodland Libraries, but YoloTD may do this.
Caltrans will host two public meetings to receive comments on this $330 million project:
- Tuesday November 28, 2023, in West Sacramento at the Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue. 5:30pm to 7:30pm
- Wednesday, December 13, 2023, at the Mary L Stephens Davis Branch Library, 315 E 14th Street. 5:30pm to 7:30pm
YoloTD agency plans additional outreach and education they will publicize soon.
The release of the draft environmental documents during the holidays and the short time frame for public input are making public process a challenge that YoloTD is seeking to remedy: YoloTD Board will host a public meeting for input on Monday, December 11, 2023, at 6pm at its board meeting. The public should be aware they will not be allowed to present PowerPoint visuals (maps, charts, graphs) to the board, but these can be emailed to: [email protected].
While Caltrans is the responsible agency for addressing deficiencies noted in the draft environmental documents, YoloTD retains final approval of the widening project per a memorandum of understanding with Caltrans. YoloTD has 5 voting members on its Board, represented by Josh Chapman (Davis – Alternate Donna Neville), Jesse Loren (Winters), Tom Stallard (Woodland), Dawnte Early (West Sac), and Supervisor Lucas Frerichs. UC Davis has one non-voting ex officio member, Matt Dulcich, on the Board.
Caltrans will accept public comments on the draft environmental documents, including the draft EIR deficiencies, until Friday January 5, 2024. After this, Caltrans has allocated only 30 days to address all concerns from the public and approve final environmental documents before certifying the EIR as accurate. The next steps will be drawing up plans and putting the project out for bid. Caltrans has committed to begin construction of the widening on Sept 30, 2024.