Little Cottonwood Canyon Final EIS Supplemental Information Reports Comment Period
March 23, 2023
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Little Cottonwood Canyon in August of 2022 and held a public comment period, with the project team receiving over 13,000 comments.
As a result of the comments received, the project team determined additional analysis was warranted regarding the impacts of the Final EIS alternatives to Inventoried Roadless Areas under the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (RACR) and the Forest Plan. The RACR required the USDA Forest Service to conduct an inventory of roadless areas for their potential to be designated as wilderness based on size (at least 5,000 acres) or location (contiguous to an existing Wilderness Area). If an area meets these criteria, it becomes an “Inventoried Roadless Area” (IRA) and, in general, the RACR prohibits road construction, road reconstruction, and timber harvesting (cutting, sale, or removal) in IRAs unless certain exceptions or circumstances exist. Little Cottonwood Canyon contains the White Pine IRA and portions of the Twin Peaks and Lone Peak IRAs.
Also following publication of the Final EIS, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requested that UDOT complete additional air quality analysis. In particular, FHWA requested evaluation of a scenario under the existing modeling where all ski buses would be powered by diesel fuel rather than the model default which consisted of diesel, compressed natural gas, and gasoline powered buses; and that all transit buses be evaluated at the maximum expected service life of 14 years rather than a variable age bus fleet.
As a result of public and agency input, UDOT has issued two supplemental information reports to evaluate applicability of the RACR and the potential impacts to inventoried roadless areas and for additional air quality analysis.
Public Comment Period
The public review and comment period for the supplemental information reports is open from March 19 to April 18, 2023 and the project team is accepting comments on the analysis contained in these reports. Comments received in this comment period that are unrelated to the supplemental information reports will not be addressed in the Record of Decision (ROD). Formal comments can be submitted through the project website, email, voicemail, and text messages. This information is listed on the Contact section of the website.
**Please note that as the public had the opportunity to comment on the entire Final EIS, comments unrelated to the supplemental information reports will not be addressed in the Record of Decision (ROD).