Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment — Now Available
The NLX Tier 2 Project Level EA builds on the Tier 1 Service Level EA prepared in 2013 . The Tier 2 EA addresses specific project-related issues and likely environmental effects associated with proposed track infrastructure, stations, and layover and maintenance facilities. More information about the Tier 1 EA.
MnDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, published the Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment for the Northern Lights Express High Speed Passenger Rail Project from Minneapolis to Duluth, MN. MnDOT, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), assisted FRA in the development of the Tier 2 EA.
The Tier 2 EA documents the purpose and need of the project along with the anticipated social, economic, transportation, and environmental impacts. The Tier 2 EA addresses specific NLX Project-related impacts associated with proposed NLX service operations and construction, including track infrastructure, stations, and maintenance and layover facilities and measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate these impacts.”
Comments on the Tier 2 EA document were received through May 24, 2017 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and were directed to:
Francis Loetterle, Project Manager
Minnesota Department of Transportation
395 John Ireland Boulevard, MS 470
Saint Paul, MN 55155-1800
The comments received will be used by MnDOT, FRA, and WisDOT in deciding whether there is potential for this project to result in significant impacts to the environment and whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required.
To afford an opportunity for all interested persons and agencies to comment on the proposed action, public meetings will be held. More information on public meetings.
The Tier 2 Project Level EA can be downloaded below or viewed in hard copy at:
- MnDOT Library, MnDOT Transportation Building, 395 John Ireland Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55155-1800
- Cambridge Public Library 244 South Birch Street, Cambridge, MN 55008
- Coon Rapids Crooked Lake Branch Library, 11440 Crooked Lake Boulevard NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433
- Duluth Public Library, 520 W. Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802
- Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central, Environmental Conservation Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1992
- Hinckley Public Library, 106 First Street SE, Hinckley, MN 55037
- Sandstone Public Library, 119 N. Fourth Street, Sandstone, MN 55072
- Superior Public Library, 1530 Tower Avenue, Superior, WI 54880
- WisDOT Northwest Region Office, 1701 N. 4th Street, Superior, WI 54880
- WisDOT Transportation Library, 4802 Sheboygan Ave, Room 100A, Madison, WI 53707
Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment and Appendices
Files are in PDF format.
- Cover, Signature Page, Executive Summary (5.3 MB)
This file contains the cover, signature pages, and the executive summary of the NLX Tier 2 Project Level Environmental Assessment (EA).
- Table of Contents, Acronyms and Abbreviations List (212 KB)
This file includes the table of contents for the Tier 2 EA and the definitions of acronyms and abbreviations used throughout the Tier 2 EA.
- Chapter 1 Purpose and Need (605 KB)
Chapter 1 describes the NLX Project, including its location. Chapter 1 also provides background information on the NLX Project and discusses the purpose and need for the NLX Project.
- Chapter 2 Alternatives (8.5 MB)
Chapter 2 discusses the alternatives evaluated in the Tier 1 Service Level EA, proposed infrastructure improvements under Tier 2, and the No Build Alternative and the Build Alternative carried forward for analysis in the Tier 2 EA.
- Chapter 3 Transportation (3.8 MB)
Chapter 3 describes the existing transportation conditions in the NLX study area, the potential transportation impacts of the No Build Alternative and the Build Alternative, and the proposed avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures.
- Chapter 4 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences (10.4 MB)
Chapter 4 describes the existing social, economic and environmental conditions in the NLX study area, the potential impacts of the No Build Alternative and the Build Alternative, and the proposed avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures.
- Chapter 5 Public and Agency Involvement (286 KB)
Chapter 5 describes the public and agency involvement activities that have been undertaken to date for the Tier 2 EA process, as well as a list of the permits and approvals that are anticipated to complete the NLX Project and the steps in the public review process that will occur to complete this Tier 2 EA and to prepare appropriate decision documents.
- Chapter 6 References (258 KB)
Chapter 6 lists all of the references, organized by chapter, cited in the Tier 2 EA.
- Appendix A Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) EA Reference Table and EA Form (296 KB)
Appendix A includes a reference table identifying where in the Tier 2 EA the Minnesota Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) questions are addressed; the EAW form; and a table of the Sections, Townships, and Ranges that the NLX Project would pass through.
- Appendix B Facilities Site Evaluation and Design Technical Memorandum (56.6 MB)
Appendix B documents the current planning and design phase for the NLX station, maintenance and layover facilities being considered for the NLX Project. The report documents the analysis process, describes the required facility program elements, evaluates the facility site alternatives, and presents the conceptual design plans and cost estimates prepared for the selected NLX facility sites.
- Appendix C Technical Documents in Support of NLX Service Plan (10.6 MB)
Appendix C includes the following technical documents in support of the NLX service plan:
- Preliminary Economic Impact Analysis, December 3, 2015
- Preliminary Benefit Cost Analysis, December 3, 2015
- Ridership and Revenue Forecast, October 2015
- Capital Cost Report, January 2017
- Operating and Maintenance Costs and Capital Replacement Forecast, January 2017
- Appendix D Detailed Figures (88.6 MB)
Appendix D presents detailed figures showing the NLX Project construction limits and resources present throughout the NLX study area.
- Appendix E Build Alternative Design Information (740 KB)
Appendix E includes typical cross sections, a table of proposed grade crossing improvements, and a table of proposed bridge and culvert improvements.
- Appendix F Ridership Model Results (1.3 MB)
Appendix F includes traffic circulation analysis tables identifying the vehicular trips added to the network for the AM and PM peaks in year 2040.
- Appendix G Synchro Traffic Model Results (1.4 MB)
Appendix G includes model results for the local street network near the proposed Cambridge NLX station, showing the existing PM peak traffic and the PM peak traffic with the addition of NLX riders.
- Appendix H Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Information (21.0 MB)
Appendix H provides bicycle, pedestrian and trails information for Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, Cambridge, Hinckley, and Duluth.
- Appendix I Agency Coordination (29.8 MB)
Appendix I includes documentation from agency coordination meetings, agency Tier 2 EA recommendations, and cooperating agency letters.
- Appendix J Wetlands (699 KB)
Appendix J includes detailed wetland GIS analysis methodology and a table of potential wetland impacts.
- Appendix K Limited Phase I Environmental Site Assessment main document (7.0 MB)
Appendix K provides the Limited Phase I Environmental Site Assessment conducted for the NLX Project.
- Appendix K, Attachment A Site Figures (2.1 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment A includes the figures for the Limited Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.
- Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 1 (74.6 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 1 includes Environmental Data Resources Inc (EDR) reports and historical data for Target Field Station and Coon Rapids Station.
- Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 2 (47.7 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 2 includes EDR reports and historical data for Cambridge Station; Hinckley Station; and Superior, Wisconsin Station.
- Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 3 (78.8 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 3 includes EDR reports and historical data for Duluth Station and the Duluth maintenance and/or layover facility.
- Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 4 (92.8 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment B, Part 4 includes EDR reports and historical data for Sandstone Maintenance Facility and new bridge construction.
- Appendix K, Attachment C (5.6 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment C includes site photographs for the Limited Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.
- Appendix K, Attachment D (18.8 MB)
Appendix K, Attachment D includes signal upgrade and new bridge schematics for the Limited Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.
- Appendix L Socioeconomic Census Data (317 KB)
Appendix L presents detailed socioeconomic census data by census tract within the NLX Project study area.
- Appendix M Inventory of Community Facilities (345 KB)
Appendix M provides a list of community facilities by county that are located within the NLX Project study area.
- Appendix N Environmental Justice Tables (517 KB)
Appendix N presents tables that contain minority and low-income data for each census tract and community that are within or bisect the NLX Project study area.
- Appendix O Public Involvement (10.1 MB)
Appendix O includes public meeting summaries and published newsletters sent to NLX Project stakeholders.
- Appendix P Cultural Resources (7.0 MB)
Appendix P includes correspondence with the Minnesota Historic Preservation Office (MnHPO) and Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office (WisSHPO); the Programmatic Agreement among FRA, the Surface Transportation Board, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office (now MnHPO), and WisSHPO; and property location maps for properties listed on and eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places within the Area of Potential Effect for the NLX Project.
- Appendix Q Draft Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) Evaluation (524 KB)
Appendix Q presents the Draft Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) Evaluation, which analyzes the NLX Project impacts based on proposed construction limits that have been updated since the Tier 1 EA.