CONCORD, Mass. – The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the Maine Department of Transportation (MEDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, are 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 construction of a new replacement bridge between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kittery, Maine.
The NHDOT and the MEDOT propose to dredge and/or fill approximately 1.71 acres of estuarine waters and river bottom in conjunction with the construction of a new replacement bridge across the Piscataqua River to replace the Sara Mildred Long Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery. The project involves building a new 2,800-foot-long bridge approximately 300 feet north of the existing bridge so that the new bridge can be built while the old bridge continues in service. After the new bridge is built, the old bridge will be removed in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard requirements.
A Joint Public Hearing will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014 at 6 p.m. at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), Pease Field Office, at 222 International Drive in Portsmouth, NH.
Because the project will be partially funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the lead federal agency for this undertaking, and will require permits pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act from the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, an environmental document referred to as a Categorical Exclusion (CE) is being prepared for FHWA to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. The draft CE will discuss the purpose and need for the project, alternatives considered, how various aspects of the human and natural environment would be affected, the environmental consequences of the work and mitigation proposed.
Many documents relating to the project including the application to the NH DES are available at the project website at http://www.maine.gov/mdot/sml. For more information about the proposed bridge project contact either Jeff Folsom at ME DOT at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Robert Landry at NH DOT at email@example.com.
Public comments on this proposed work (wetlands bureau file # 2014-01053) can be submitted at the public hearing or forwarded no later than July 14, 2014 to Gino Infascelli, NH DES Wetlands Bureau, P.O. Box 95, Concord, NH 03302-0095 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Reference file # 2014-01053. The Maine DEP and the Corps will be provided copies of all submitted public comments.
Proposed mitigation will involve an in lieu fee payment that would be used for tidal restoration projects within the Piscataqua River estuary.
The application for the federal permit will be filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates discharge or fill of material in U. S. waters, including wetlands; and with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the United States.
The Corps public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. For questions on the Corps permit review contact Corps Permit Project Manager Michael Hicks at 978-318-8157 or toll free 800-343-4789 or by email to: email@example.com.