Montana Department of Transportation

Baker Corridor Planning Study

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Corridor Planning Study?
A Corridor Planning Study is a pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) planning study which provides for early planning-level coordination with the community, local government, resource agencies, and other stakeholders to identify issues and potential transportation improvement options within the study area. The Baker Corridor Planning Study will follow the MDT Corridor Planning Process which provides a linkage between early transportation planning and the environmental review process. The process includes a planning-level analysis of the existing transportation system and the environmental setting of the study area to identify needs and constraints.
The Corridor Planning Process can benefit future project development and approvals by streamlining the environmental review process and ultimately reducing costs. This process will develop goals and objectives, identify and analyze improvement options, eliminate non-feasible options, and identify potential environmental impacts and other constraints through a public involvement process.
The Corridor Planning Process is distinct from a NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance document and does not include design, right-of-way acquisition, or construction phases for any individual project.
For additional information, refer to MDT’s planning study process.
What does a “pre-NEPA/MEPA planning study” mean?
NEPA and MEPA provide a framework that requires state and federal agencies to consider the potential environmental consequences of their proposals, document the analysis, and include a public process prior to project implementation. In the context of transportation projects, the NEPA/MEPA process is intended to assist officials in making informed transportation decisions, while balancing potential affects to the human and natural environment and the public’s need for safe and efficient transportation. The NEPA/MEPA process ensures that information about anticipated transportation project impacts is available to the public before decisions are made and carried out.
The Baker Corridor Planning Study is a pre-NEPA/MEPA study that will involve a planning-level assessment of the study area. The planning process will include a review of potential environmental issues and concerns. The results of this planning-level environmental review may be used to assist in later NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance phases for an individual project.
Who is conducting this study?
MDT is conducting this study in partnership with FHWA and in coordination with Fallon County and the City of Baker. HDR is assisting MDT to complete the study by October 2015.
What steps will be taken during the study?
Steps in the planning process are described below. Public involvement opportunities will be included throughout the planning process.
  1. Develop and confirm study scope: The planning team will assess the complexity of issues within the study area and the level of effort required to address the issues.
  2. Develop existing and projected conditions report: The team will consider geometric characteristics, access density, pavement condition, crash history, traffic volumes, and operational characteristics, constraints, and environmental resources within the study area.
  3. Identify needs and objectives: The planning team will identify needs and objectives for the study corridor. Needs and objectives are developed from the findings of the existing and projected conditions report, with consideration of comments submitted during public and resource agency involvement efforts.
  4. Identify and evaluate improvement options: The planning team will identify potential short- and long-term improvement options. Improvement options will be evaluated based on their ability to address the study needs and objectives. Potential impacts, constraints, and estimated costs will be identified for each improvement option.
  5. Prepare draft corridor planning study report: The planning team will prepare a draft report documenting the planning process, including public and agency input, key findings, recommendations, and next steps. The team will seek comments on the draft report from resource agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public.
  6. Finalize corridor planning study report: The planning team will finalize the study report after considering comments from members of the public, resource agencies, and other interested parties. Recommendations from the study will assist MDT and others in identifying potential projects based on needs, objectives, and available funding.
What happens next?
The planning study will consider multiple improvement options within the study area. This early planning process is distinct from the environmental compliance, design, and construction phases of an individual project. Any future steps will be determined by MDT in conjunction with FHWA, the City of Baker, and Fallon County.
How can I become involved in the study?
The public is encouraged to participate in the planning process. Two informational meetings will be held during the course of the study. The date, time, and location for these meetings will be announced prior to each event through local media and this website. Members of the public may also review information posted on this website and provide input throughout the study. See How can I stay informed? below.
Public comment will be considered to better understand potential issues, concerns, opportunities, and constraints. The study will recommend improvement options that best meet the needs and objectives developed through the planning process.
How can I stay informed?
MDT encourages members of the public to join the study mailing list by submitting contact information to Jon Schick by or by submitting a comment using the online comment form.
Study information will be published on this website, in local media venues, and via newsletters throughout the planning study process.