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Environmental Impact Statement - Highway 12

Nebraska Highway 12 roadway east and west of the Village of Niobrara

Nebraska Hwy 12 - Niobrara East & West - NDOR Project Website

Summary:Two segments of the existing Nebraska Highway 12 roadway east and west of the Village of Niobrara, in Knox County, Neb., have experienced flooding and damage due to high water levels associated with the Missouri River. The Nebraska Department of Roads proposes to improve N-12 to reduce the risk of flooding and resulting damage to provide a reliable, stable, and safe roadway for the region. Other alternatives, including relocations, will be evaluated in the EIS. 

Due to this project's potential impact to wetlands and other waters of the U.S., as well as other potential impacts, an EIS is warranted. USACE, as the lead Federal agency with authority under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, initiated the EIS to meet the the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requirements.

EIS Milestones Completed
Publish Notice of Intent to Prepare EIS (Federal Register)  July 25, 2008
Public Notice of Intent to Prepare EIS (District Public Notice) July 25, 2008
Public Scoping August 2008
Public Meeting July 2009
Publish Notice of Available Draft EIS October 9, 2015
Press Release of Available Draft EIS October 9, 2015
Public Open House and Hearing November 9, 2015
Public Comments Due November 23, 2015
Permit Application Withdrawn; EIS Status Pending November 20, 2015

Highway 12 Draft EIS

Draft EIS Release Date: October 9, 2015

Permit Applicant: Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR)

Draft EIS Prepared by: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District Regulatory Branch (the Corps Regulatory Branch is neither a proponent nor opponent of the proposed project).

A list of libraries and offices where a paper copy of the Draft EIS is available in the Public Notice.

Comments Due: November 23, 2015

Submit comments in writing to:

Becky Latka, Highway 12 EIS Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
Omaha District Regulatory Office

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The entire report is available in three downloadable files. Click the links to begin downloading. The files are large and may take some time to download.

Part of the EIS process is to screen alternatives. NDOR provides USACE with proposed roadway alternatives that have to meet standard State and local roadways design criteria that specify an area from the driving lane free of obstacles, including above bodies of water. N-12 shall have approximately 7.5 feet of clearance above the 100-year flood elevation, and N-14 shall have approximately 7 feet of clearance above the 100-year flood elevation. 

Flooding in 2011 provided new details and in spring 2013, USACE developed a new floodplain model for a study requested by the Niobrara Public School District. This new model included information from the 2011 flood. USACE then compared the floodplain elevations developed under the new model to the Parallel Alignment (Alternative A2) as it was currently designed. USACE found that this alignment alternative no longer met 100-year flood design criteria, and may also impact other road alternatives. 

With this new information, NDOR chose to redesign the floodplain alternatives to raise the roadway elevations based on the new floodplain modeling. Additionally, NDOR reevaluated its design engineering for the Bluffs Alignment (Alternative B1), redesigning the alignment to reduce the potential for slides and road failures due to the presence of Pierre shale. 

Alternatives Carried Forward figures are available in the HQ USACE Digital Library. The redesign changes the cost of each alternative and wetlands impacts. Because USACE uses cost as a determining factor to practicable alternatives, a new review of alternatives and their costs is needed. USACE also reviews and presents in the EIS each revision for impacts on wetlands and other resources.