As part of the initial study phase of the Appalachian Corridor Segment (I-66) project, there will be a narrowing down of reasonable alternatives that will be further considered in the full environmental assessment phase. This narrowing down of alternatives will be accomplished by the task force referred to as the I-66 Appalachian Corridor Team (I-66 ACT). To assist the Team in the narrowing of alternates will be a decision-matrix that includes a number of elements or determinants that are considered important in the development of a highway project of this magnitude.

The project determinants were identified by reviewing the project Purpose and Need Statements and the environmental overview process, which is a part of this initial alternate refinement phase.

The determinants were first shared with the I-66 Act membership at a task force meeting on May 18, 2000. The determinants were revised after receiving comments, and the final listing was presented to the I-66 ACT membership on June 29, 2000 at meeting number 3.

Rating and Ranking the Project Determinants
At the June 29, 2000 meeting, the I-66 ACT membership was asked to rank the determinants by priority, (Table 1 illustrates the Determinants considered by the Task Force). They were told to identify each element by relative importance, any method that seemed reasonable to them. The result of this exercise was that some of the members ranked each one, some selected the most important 10, and some just selected the top five.

The selection process allows for a very unsophisticated approach to identifying the most important criteria in selecting the "best" alternates to be processed through the preliminary engineering and full environmental assessment phase. Table 2 illustrates the ranking that resulted from each respondent at the I-66 ACT meeting.

Click Here to download Tables 1, 2 and 3     (116kb Word Document).
Click Here to download Table 4     (35kb Excel Spreadsheet).
Final Ranking of Determinants
Table 3 illustrates the priority of the determinants to be used in the Decision-Matrix for "best" alternatives. This prioritizing has resulted in some very insightful determinant selections. For example, in eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia, the high cost per mile for constructing highways is a major reason why new highway construction is very limited. The people realize this condition and identified it as the most important consideration in the selection of a highway. They just want access and the less expensive the road, the more miles they may be able to obtain. The second priority was also a very reasonable selection, i.e. population within 15 minutes driving time. Since highway access is very limited in the mountains, the more people that can be served, the better.

The first six determinants are very consistent with the project Purpose and Need, with the possible exception to number 5 concerning "Number of Relocations". The I-66 ACT membership realizes that accessibility will improve quality of life conditions (such as educational, medical, shopping) economic development conditions and tourism. But, the Task Force is also very much concerned with the problem of relocations and lack of available housing, a serious problem in eastern Kentucky and southwest West Virginia.

The result of this exercise in ranking illustrates that the Task Force membership is very much aware of the importance of highways and their impact on the fiscal and environmental programs of local, state and Federal agencies, as well as local needs and goals.

These ranking results will be used in a subjective manner to evaluate and prioritize the project corridor alternatives, refer to Table 4. The obvious conclusion from the ranking exercise is that accessibility (job creation, access to services, etc.) is very important to the Committee, which in turn provides some ranking to the project purpose and need conditions. However, it must also be remembered that even though environmental concerns do not generally rank as high as mobility / accessibility, the environmental issues can affect project location. Project costs on the other hand can delay, terminate or cause the project to be constructed in different lengths and stages.

This interrelationship between accessibility / cost / environmental issues causes these project determinants in the decision-matrix to be used in a subjective, as opposed to analytical manner.

Definition of Determinants
The Decision-Matrix shown in Table 4 lists all determinants as well as all alternates from US 23 to the proposed King Coal Highway in West Virginia. Below is the definition for each determinant used in the Matrix.

These determinants summarize distance in miles from I-66 through the nearest designated interchange to a given area of interest or use.

Population - shows the total population within a five-mile radius of all designated interchanges on a given alternate. The data are derived from the 1990 Census.

Pikeville (Government Services)-lists the distance from Pikeville to I-66 via the nearest designated interchange on a given alternate. Government Services include: police and fire protection, ambulance service, school transportation, sanitation, etc.

Matewan (Government Services)- lists the distance from Matewan to I-66 via the nearest designated interchange on a given alternate.

Fishtrap Lake - lists the shortest distance from I-66 through the nearest designated interchange to points of interest on Fishtrap Lake. The points of interest include the dam via KY 1789 and the Grapevine Boat Ramp via KY 194

Grants Branch Park - shows distance from Grants Branch Park to I-66 through the nearest designated interchange on a given alternate.

Hatfield-McCoy Site - lists the minimum distance in miles from a Hatfield-McCoy site to I-66 through the nearest designated interchange on a given alternate.

Potential Industrial Development Sites - while there are no official industrial development sites near the proposed I-66 alternates, this project has a strong commitment from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to use excess roadway excavation materials to develop potential industrial sites. Several existing surface mines have been examined and ranked in a subjective manner as to their potential for being developed as future industrial sites. On a scale of 1 to 10 a score of one is the better ranking.

-------Project Costs--------

These determinants estimate costs to design and build a given alternate.

Total Project Costs - estimates in millions of dollars the cost for the roadway to be constructed. This number is the summation of construction, engineering, right of way, utility and mineral costs. Construction costs includes such items as earth excavation, pavement, drainage provisions, proposed bridges and the like for both the mainline and interchange ramps.

Length of Truck Lanes - estimates the length of truck lanes required in order to maintain a specific level of service. A level of service C (on a scale of A to F) is typical for a rural interstate highway. This determinant also provides some insight into the number of steep incline grades a heavy vehicle may be required to negotiate.

Right of Way Costs - all costs associated with purchasing land in order to construct a given alternate.

Utility Relocation Costs - the costs to reconstruct or reroute major transmission lines such as natural gas pipelines and aerial power lines in order to avoid conflicts with a given alternate.

Mineral Value - estimates the value of coal and natural gas resources that are impacted by a specific alternate. These numbers listed are from a "Summary of Solid Mineral (Coal) and Natural Gas Values" by V&M/AEC/PEC Engineers.

------Environmental Impacts------

These determinants list (some on a subjective basis) environmental concerns. The proposed alternates are considered to have potential influence on items within a 1000 feet wide "footprint" centered on the lines shown in the exhibits. It should be noted that in the next phase of work (Phase 1B) some of the impacts listed here may well be avoided altogether.

Number of Relocations - estimates by field count of the number of homes as well as businesses located within the footprint, which have the potential to be displaced.

Number of Mining Operations - estimates by field count of the number of surface mines, deep mines and other mining facilities. such as preparation plants and rail sidings located within the footprint.

Geotechnical Conditions - a preliminary ranking based on such conditions as coal mining, potential landslide areas, and other disturbances that may have an effect on a possible roadway segment. A ranking of one represents the better condition.

Length of Blue Line Stream Impacts - estimates the length of blue line streams (both intermittent and perennial flows) located within the footprint. Modifications to blue line streams are regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the state Division of Water.

Number of Public Recreation Sites - estimates by count the number of public parks located within the footprint.

Number of Wetlands - Wetlands are defined by soil type, flora and the presence of water among other things. Some of the alternates influence six wetlands identified in the document "Phase 1A Environmental Overview Confirmation" by Commonwealth Technology, Inc.

Number of Historic Sites - estimates by count the number of historic sites located within the footprint.

Number of UST/HZM Sites - estimates by count the number of Underground Storage Tanks (UST) and Hazardous Materials located within the footprint that will require remediation.

Number of Community Services - estimates by count the number public community services such as police, fire ambulance, school transportation, etc. affected by a specific alternate.

Number of Cemeteries - estimates by count the number of cemeteries located within the footprint.

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