The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) awarded the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) a High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance and preliminary engineering phases of the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project. FRA is the lead federal agency. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), as bridge owner and operator, coordinated with MDOT and FRA to provide conceptual and preliminary engineering designs.
The existing Susquehanna River Rail Bridge is located between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland. The project area included the existing bridge and its approaches, spanning approximately 2.5 miles on either side of the river. The two-track bridge, a critical link along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC), is nearing the end of its useful life. It will eventually need to be rehabilitated or replaced with a new structure to maintain future rail service. The project aimed to improve capacity, time, and safety for commuter, freight, and intercity passenger rail services, and explored ways to improve the navigation channel for marine users.
FRA and MDOT prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Section 4(f) Evaluation in March 2017 to evaluate the potential environmental impacts for the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project. FRA and MDOT, in collaboration with Amtrak, prepared the EA to comply with NEPA (42 USC § 4321 et seq.). FRA makes this Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based on the information in the EA in compliance with NEPA, FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 FR 28545, May 26, 1999), and other related laws and regulations.
FRA signed the EA on March 2, 2017, and made the document and associated technical reports available for public comment and review on March 6, 2017. The Project Team posted the EA to the Project website, circulated electronic copies to a broad mailing list, and distributed hard copies to review agencies, local libraries, and other repositories. The public comment period for the EA closed on April 6, 2017. On May 31, 2017, FRA signed a FONSI. The FONSI addressed the public comments and included measures to minimize impacts that will be implemented with the Project. The March 2017 EA and the May 2017 FONSI are available for review using the links below as well as on the project website (www.susrailbridge.com).
If you have additional questions related to the project, please contact Brandon Bratcher, FRA Environmental Protection Specialist, at Brandon.Bratcher@dot.gov, or send your comments to:
Federal Railroad Administration
RPD-13: Environment and Corridor Planning Division
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
West Building, Mail Stop 20
Washington, DC 20590