Oct 27, 2021ELR Planning and Environmental Services Harvey Road Connector PEL Study
In August 2021, E.L. Robinson completed the Harvey Road Connector Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study for the Wayne County WV Commissioners and KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission. This was the first PEL study conducted by KYOVA and one of the first PEL studies in West Virginia. Harvey Road is in northern Wayne and southern Cabell Counties, just south of Huntington, WV. The area is characterized as a gateway to Huntington and within a designated tourism corridor. The Harvey Road Connector has the goal of improving accessibility, mobility, and connectivity within northern Wayne County between Harvey Road and WV-152.
PEL studies are a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making which considers potential environmental and community impacts, as well as economic goals. ELR hosted monthly stakeholder advisory group (SAG) meetings to facilitate the decision-making process. The SAG included representatives from Wayne County, KYOVA, WV Division of Highways, and Heritage Farm Museum and Village. In addition, ELR provided regular presentations to the KYOVA Technical Advisory Committee and Board. The PEL study mirrored the key elements of the NEPA environmental review process and included scoping, goal and objectives, alternatives development and analysis, resource agency consultation, and public involvement - all designed to benefit the future NEPA phase and project development process.
The study started with nine alternatives. The following graphic illustrates the interactive alternatives development and evaluation process that was used. ELR completed a desktop review and developed a project goal and objectives. This information was used to screen alternatives down to six that were further refined with conceptual roadway designs and field reconnaissance. The six alternatives were presented to resource agencies through a virtual meeting and to the public though an online information page; input from the public was obtained using a survey, a virtual public meeting, and an in-person open house.
Press coverage of the in-person open house generated public controversy about one of the six remaining alternatives. The SAG considered the information, including resource agency and public input, and recommended three alternatives to be carried forward to NEPA. ELR concluded the PEL study by providing a final report, an executive summary, and by completing the FHWA PEL Questionnaire. This PEL study successfully completed its purpose of streamlining NEPA, building a strong project foundation, raising the project’s prominence, and increasing the project’s credibility
“It has been a pleasure watching Douglas, Leigh, and the entire ELR team work on this project. I could not have asked for a better deliverable or a more pleasant, more professional experience.” - Jimmy Boggs, County Administrator, Wayne County
“EL Robinson has managed the first planning and environmental linkage (PEL) study, a first of its kind in our region and state of West Virginia extremely well and has been quick to respond to questions and requests for additional information from our Metropolitan Planning Organization (KYOVA-MPO) and stakeholders. The stakeholders have been pleased with the success of the project to date and are highly impressed with the quality of work received from EL Robinson. The KYOVA-MPO is constantly impressed with EL Robinson (Douglas and Leigh), and their ability to deliver a successful and practical PEL study has been impressive.”- Saleem Salameh, Deputy Director, KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission