Skip to main content
Welcome!Help Us Improve

You are here

Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project

Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project (High Priority)

Coordinating Agency
Department of Transportation
Accountable POC
Eric Beightel
Project Status
Complete
Estimated Cost
$ 285,000,000
Project Website
Google Map of Project
Description
The Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project in Massachusetts will replace sixty-year old bridge spanning the Merrimack River with a new, multi-modal bridge that will add additional lanes for motor vehicle traffic as well as bicycle and Read More
Expedited Process
The U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is working closely with federal agencies and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (the project sponsor), to shorten the timeframe for permit review and Read More

Reviews, Approvals and Permits

Click on the Description Drop Down Arrow icon to view more information.
Title Responsible Agency Responsible Agency POC Name Target Completion Date Status Description Public Participation Address Public Participation Email Public Participation State Public Participation Website Public Participation Zip
Chapter 91 License State or Local Agency Phil Weinberg 07/18/2012 Complete

Massachusetts General Law Chapter 91 protects the public's interest in waterways of the Commonwealth. It ensures that public rights to fish, fowl and navigate are not unreasonably restricted and that unsafe or hazardous structures are repaired or removed. Chapter 91 also protects the waterfront property owner's ability to approach his land from the water.

Chapter 91 authorization is required for structures in tidelands, Great Ponds (over 10 acres in natural state) and certain rivers and streams.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will review and make a determination on the Capter 91 license application. The MEPA FEIR Certificate must be issued prior to issuance of the Chapter 91 License issuance.

http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/resources/faqs03.htm

Description Drop Down Arrow
Publish FEIR Notice in Environmental Monitor State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 03/07/2012 Complete

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office will publish a notice of the Final Environmental Impact Report in the Environmental Monitor, a publication of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs which provides information on projects under review by the MEPA office, recent MEPA decisions of the Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and public notices from environmental agencies.

http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/emonitor.aspx

Description Drop Down Arrow
Section 7 ESA Consultation Department of Commerce Christopher Boelke 06/08/2011 Complete

NMFS concurred on 6/8/2011 with the determination that the proposed reconstruction of the Whittier Bridge in Amesbury, Massachusetts is not likely to adversely affect any listed species under NMFS jurisdiction. No further consultation is required.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Coastal Zone Management Consistency Review Application State or Local Agency Kevin Walsh 11/15/2011 Complete

MassDOT will submit the Coastal Zone Management Review application to the Massachusetts CZM office.

Coastal Zone Management Act gives states the authority to review federal projects to ensure that they meet state standards articulated in their coastal zone management plans through a process called federal consistency review.

Project proponents must submit appropriate materials to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to initiate the consistency review.

http://www.mass.gov/czm/

Description Drop Down Arrow
Section 404 Permit considered complete Department of Defense Paul Sneeringer 11/29/2011 Complete

The US Army Corps of Engineers will inform MassDOT within 10 days if their application for a Section 404 Permit is complete.

Clean Water Act Section 404 establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged and fill material into waters of the United States, including wetlands. General permits are often issued by USACE for categories of activities that are similar in nature and would have only minimal individual or cumulative adverse environmental effects. A general permit can also be issued on a programmatic basis ("programmatic general permit") to avoid duplication of permits for state, local or other Federal agency programs.

Description Drop Down Arrow
MEPA DEIR Certificate State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 01/02/2012 Complete

The MEPA Office will issue a certificate on the draft environmental impact report.

Description Drop Down Arrow
FHWA - NEPA Decision on EA/EIR Department of Transportation Pamela Stephenson 01/20/2012 Complete

The Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project will combine the state and federal environmental reviews in a joint process. The Environmental Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report (EA/DEIR) for the replacement of the John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge (I-95 over the Merrimack River in Newburyport and Amesbury) and highway improvements (also in Salisbury) was prepared as part of a joint federal NEPA and state MEPA environmental review process.

After environmental issues were identified, the Highway Division issued a draft state/federal document known as a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment, or DEIR/EA. MassHighway is currently seeking public review of this combined document and comments are due by December 23, 2011.  The document is accessible at the following link: http://whittierbridge.mhd.state.ma.us/documents_ea_deir.aspx.

Description Drop Down Arrow
MA Wetlands Protection Act Notice of Intent State or Local Agency Multiple Local Agencies 12/01/2011 Complete

The Wetlands Protection Act prohibits the removal, dredging, filling, or altering of wetlands without a permit.

The application, called the Notice of Intent (NOI), which describes the type and boundaries of resource areas and the type of work proposed, is submitted by the applicant to the Conservation Commission of each town, along with supporting plans. A professional engineer generally must stamp plans. A copy of the NOI is also submitted to the regional office of DEP, which issues a project number for the proposed activity. A legal notice is published in a local newspaper. Upon completion of these steps, the Conservation Commission of each town opens separate public hearings of the proposal.

This action was completed by filing Notices of Intent with each town that will have wetlands potentially impacted by this project. Each town where the NOIs were filed will conduct 2 - 3 separate public hearings in December and January.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Publish DEIR notice in the Environmental Monitor State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 11/17/2011 Complete

The Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office will publish a notice of the Draft Environmental Impact Report in the Environmental Monitor, a publication of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs which provides information on projects under review by the MEPA office, recent MEPA decisions of the Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs, and public notices from environmental agencies.

http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/emonitor.aspx

Description Drop Down Arrow
Consolidated Dredge an Fill/401 Permit Decision State or Local Agency Ken Chin 05/03/2012 Complete

The Department of Environmental Protection will address comments received from the public and determine whether to issue the consoldiated permit. Prior to permit approval and issuance, the FEIR Certificate must be completed with the MEPA office.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Issue Public Notice of Bridge Permit Application Department of Homeland Security Gary Kassof 12/09/2011 Complete

A Public Notice of the Bridge Permit application is published once the US Coast Guard has determined that the application is complete.

The public notice can be viewed here: http://www.uscg.mil/d1/prevention/bridges/D01PN01-109_WhittierBridge_Mer...

Description Drop Down Arrow
EA/DEIR/Programmatic 4(f) relase for public review Department of Transportation Pamela Stephenson 11/09/2011 Complete

The Federal Highway Division Office has completed the review of the Environental Assessment and releases the document for public review. The EA includes a Programmatic Section 4(f) Evaluation for the Use of a Historic Bridge.

Description Drop Down Arrow
DMF Coordination: Essential Fish Habitat Assessment Submitted State or Local Agency John Logan 11/04/2011 Complete

The package with minor revisions will be submitted by the state to the Division of Marine Fisheries for review and concurrence, following a 10/24 conference call.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Water Quality and Section 401 Certificate Application complete State or Local Agency Ken Chin 11/17/2011 Complete

The Department of Environment will determine if the application submitted for Water Quality and Section 401Certification is complete.

Description Drop Down Arrow
File USCG Permit State or Local Agency Kevin Walsh 08/31/2011 Complete

Federal law prohibits construction of any bridge over navigable waters of the US unless first authorized by the US Coast Guard. MassDOT will apply for a Coast Guard Bridge Permit.

Description Drop Down Arrow
FEIR Public Comment Period State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 04/06/2012 Complete

A 30 day public comment period will begin with the notice of the FEIR being published in the Environmental Monitor.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Essential Fish Habitat Assessment Department of Commerce Lou Chiarella 11/04/2011 Complete

Federal agencies must consult with National Marine Fisheries Service on all actions, or proposed actions, authorized, funded, or undertaken by the agency, that may adversely affect essential fish habitat. Essential fish habitat includes all types of aquatic habitat—wetlands, coral reefs, seagrasses, rivers—where fish spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.

The Essential Fish Habitat was provided to National Marine Fisheries Service prior to the release of the EA/EIR as a stand-alone document. A copy of the EFH Assessment is included in the EA appendices.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Coastal Zone Management Concurrence State or Local Agency MA CZM Office 07/03/2012 Complete

The “federal consistency” requirement of the CZMA (16 U.S.C. § 1456) holds that federal actions that have reasonably foreseeable effects on any land or water use or natural resources of a state coastal zone must be consistent with the enforceable policies of the federally approved coastal management program for that state. Within this authority of the CZMA, state coastal programs may review federal actions affecting their coastal uses and/or resources—regardless of whether the action occurs within or outside the state coastal zone boundary—to ensure that such activities are consistent with the state’s enforceable program policies.

MEPA FEIR, Chapter 91 License and WQC are needed prior to CZM concurrence.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Clean Water Act 404 Permit Decision Department of Defense Kevin Kotelly 05/08/2012 Complete

To obtain a Section 404 permit, applicants must demonstrate that the discharge of dredged or fill material would not significantly degrade the nation's waters and there are no practicable alternatives less damaging to the aquatic environment. This includes steps taken to minimize impacts to water bodies and wetlands and appropriate and practicable mitigation. The Whittier Bridge project will impact jurisdictional waters during construction of the new bridge structure as well as during the demolition of the existing structure and during the improvements to I-95 on the approach to the bridge. Indirect impacts could result from activities that alter wetland functions and values, such as hydrologic alteration, shading, or work in the buffer zones. Temporary impacts could result from construction activities that affect wetland condition or habitat, such as work roads to access fill areas, temporary cofferdams constructed around the new piers, or barge moorings.

Description Drop Down Arrow
File EA/FEIR with MEPA State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 02/28/2012 Complete

The Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) is filed.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Public Notice for comments on the 401/Dredge Consolidated Permit State or Local Agency Phil Weinberg 12/12/2011 Complete

The Department of Environment will issue a Public Notice for comments on the application for a Water Quality and Section 401 Certification.  Following this notification, the public will have 30 days to submit comments.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Section 106 Department of Transportation Pamela Stephenson 03/02/2011 Complete

MOA signed by FHWA, SHPO, ACHP, MassDOT and concurring signatories

Description Drop Down Arrow
MA Wetlands Protection Act Order of Conditions State or Local Agency Multiple Local Agencies 02/28/2012 Complete

If the project is approved or approved with conditions, the Commission has up to 21 days to issue an Order of Conditions (OOC). Abutters, a group of 10 citizens, or the applicant have 10 days to appeal an approval to DEP. If the proposal is denied, the applicant can appeal the decision to DEP. If the project is appealed, MassDEP will issue a Superceding Order of Conditions (SOOC), either confirming or altering the original Order.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Public Comments on the DEIR State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 12/23/2011 Complete

A 30 day public comment period begins when notice of the DEIR is published in the Environmental Monitor.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Section 404 Permit Application Submission State or Local Agency Kevin Walsh 11/17/2011 Complete

MassDOT must apply for a Sec. 404 Permit (Programmatic General Permit - Category 2) from US Army Corps of Engineers. The project will impact jurisdictional waters during bridge construction, demolition of the existing structure, and improvements to I-95 on the bridge approach. Indirect impacts could result from activities that alter wetland function and value, such as hydrologic alteration, shading, or work in buffer zones. Temporary impacts to wetland conditions or habitat could result from construction activities, such as work roads, temporary cofferdams around the new piers, or barge moorings.

Clean Water Act Sec. 404 regulates the discharge of dredged and fill material into waters of the US, including wetlands. General permits are issued by USACE for categories of activities that are similar in nature and would have minimal individual or cumulative adverse effects. Programmatic general permits can be issued to avoid duplication for state, local or Federal agency programs.

Description Drop Down Arrow
US Coast Guard Bridge Permit Decision Department of Homeland Security Gary Kassof 07/31/2012 Complete

Federal law prohibits the construction of any bridge across navigable waters of the United States unless first authorized by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard approves the location and clearances of bridges through the issuance of bridge permits or permit amendments, under the authority of the General Bridge Act of 1946, Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and other statutes. This permit is required for new construction, reconstruction or modification of a bridge or causeway over waters of the United States.

Description Drop Down Arrow
EA/DEIR/Programmatic 4(f) document public comment begins Department of Transportation Pamela Stephenson 12/23/2011 Complete

Environmental Assessment review by Division is complete. MassDOT will address comments, and document will be revised as appropriate. FHWA will make sure comments are addressed prior to approval for disclosure for public comments.

Regulatory comment period are as follows: 30‐day public comment period for the EA (federal). Filed concurrently with MEPA, Env. Monitor date to coincide with 30 day public comment period for NEPA.

EA includes a Programmatic Section 4(f) Evaluation for the Use of a Historic Bridge.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Essential Fish Habitat Concurrence letter State or Local Agency John Logan 12/14/2011 Complete

Division of Marine Fisheries will issue a letter on their concurrence with the Essential Fish Habitat Assessment.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Public Comments on 401/Dredge Consolidated Permit Due State or Local Agency Ken Chin 01/11/2012 Complete

The 21-day public comment period closes.

Description Drop Down Arrow
File Revised Application to USCG Department of Homeland Security Gary Kassof 10/28/2011 Complete

After the US Coast Guard has reviewed the initial Bridge Permit application and provided comments, MassDOT revises their permit application in response to USCG comments and resubmits.

Description Drop Down Arrow
Final MEPA Certificate State or Local Agency Purvi Patel 04/13/2012 Complete

The Secretary of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will issue a certificate certifying that the project does not require further MEPA review.

Description Drop Down Arrow
National Marine Fisheries Concurrence Department of Commerce Lou Chiarella 12/05/2011 Complete

NMFS will have the opportunity to review and concur with the Essential Fish Habitat Assessment. NMFS will provide any necessary conservation recommendations to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse impacts to essential fish habitat.

Description Drop Down Arrow
File Dredge and Fill Consolidated Permit State or Local Agency Ken Chin 11/15/2011 Complete

MasDOT files an application for a Water Quality Certificate to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Under Section 401, States and Tribes can review and approve, condition, or deny all Federal permits or licenses that might result in a discharge to State or Tribal waters, including wetlands.

Description Drop Down Arrow