CONCORD, Mass. – The Maine Turnpike Authority is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with the widening of the Maine Turnpike from mile 43 in Scarborough, Maine to mile 48.8 in Portland, Maine.
The Maine Turnpike Authority proposes to place temporary and permanent fill material below the ordinary high water mark of Red Brook, Long Creek, an unnamed stream, and the Fore River and in adjacent freshwater wetlands in conjunction with the widening of the Maine Turnpike from mile 43 in Scarborough to mile 48.8 in Portland (5.7 miles). The proposed project will include the construction of a third lane on the outside of existing north and southbound lanes with a shoulder, paving the median, installing a concrete median barrier, drainage improvements, and realigning existing on and off ramps. The project is designed to upgrade the turnpike to enhance public safety and meet current and projected capacity standards.
Impacts to aquatic resources include approximately 5.2 acres of permanent and 1.1 acres of temporary wetland fills, 750 linear feet of streambed lost due to culvert extensions, and 100 linear feet of streambed lost due to stream relocations. All but 1.7 acres of the 5.2 acres of permanent wetland impact will be to wetlands routinely kept cleared as part of turnpike right-of-way maintenance.
To compensate for the project's projected natural resource impacts, including unavoidable impacts to waterways and wetlands, the applicant proposes a contribution to the Maine Natural Resource Mitigation Fund (Maine In Lieu Fee Program) in the compensation plan. The applicant is proposing these measures seeking to compensate for and lessen the project's impact on aquatic and other natural resources.
The Corps is seeking comments on this proposed measure from the interested or affected public as well as those agencies who speak to the public interest. The Corps also is soliciting recommendations for alternative measures not yet identified by the applicant. After receipt of the comments, the Corps will obtain any necessary additional information from the applicant and determine whether the proposed measure is practicable and serves to help mitigate this project's unavoidable impacts.
In-water construction at the stream crossings will impact 750 linear feet of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). This habitat consists of stream bed composed of silt, sand, gravel and cobbles. Temporary or permanent impacts to this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Maine Turnpike Authority, can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Maine Turnpike Authority (file # NAE-2019-00701) should be forwarded no later than June 13, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division, Maine Project Office (ATTN: Jay Clement), 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350, Augusta, Maine, 04330. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Jay Clement at 207-623-8367, ext. 1 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.