The study process for the Circle Interchange project will meet state and federal requirements that integrate environmental values and public interaction into transportation improvements. These requirements include following FHWA guidelines to insure compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and provisions of "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century", or MAP-21.
FHWA and IDOT anticipate processing the Circle Interchange project as a Categorical Exclusion in order to satisfy NEPA requirements. The key elements of the process include determining the project's purpose and need and the range of possible alternatives to be considered; determining potential impacts; coordinating with relevant agencies; involving the public; determining mitigation for unavoidable impacts; and, documentation of the analysis and decisions through a categorical exclusion supported by the administrative record.
Phase I of the Circle Interchange Study was initiated in May 2012 and is anticipated to be completed within 12 months. Phase II studies may take an additional 12 months. Currently, Phase I and Phase II are the only phases of the project that are funded. The Phase III portion remains unfunded at this time.