METRO Blue Line Extension Environmental Impact Statement Published

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the METRO Blue Line Extension in July. It addresses all environmental impacts from the proposed line and includes required mitigation measures. Hard copies are available at Golden Valley City Hall as well as at the Golden Valley Library. A digital version can be accessed at: http://metrocouncil.org/blrt/feis.

For Golden Valley, there are three areas in which more significant changes were made compared to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS): wetlands and floodplains are better defined in the FEIS and show mitigation areas along the route; wildlife habitat areas are more clearly defined in terms of disturbances from construction as well as from the operation of the line and stations; and agreements regarding Sochacki Park, including the mitigation plan approved by the Joint Powers Agreement Partnership, are now included.

Additionally, more specific mitigation measures—such as the inclusion of sound walls to reduce the impact of the line on homes along Kewanee Way—are outlined to address impacts first raised in the DEIS. Details of these measures will continue to be refined as the design advances.

Comments on the FEIS will be accepted through August 15. The Metropolitan Council is expected to vote on the FEIS and the project’s final scope and cost estimate in September. Once they are approved and the Record of Decision (ROD) has been issued by the FTA, the application to enter the Engineering phase of work can be submitted. This phase is expected to last for two years and will provide for the remaining 70 percent of the project design and include preparations for construction beginning in 2018.

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