A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This means that the selected preferred build alternative for the project will not have any significant impact on the environment that would require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.
This step is crucial in determining how quickly a project can move forward in development, and is required in order to receive any federal funding for a construction project.
The selected alternative (Alternative 1) was determined after extensive environmental analysis, two public meetings and a public hearing in downtown Natchitoches. The selected alternative includes a temporary bridge, as well as a new Cane River Bridge built on an adjusted alignment with pedestrian facilities.
The current Cane River Bridge was built in 1936, and services an average of approximately 11,100 vehicles per day.
A number of factors are taken into consideration during the EA, including possible impacts to residents, businesses, wildlife, and bodies of water. The process also addresses public input that is gathered during meetings and through other avenues. It also ensures that any preferred build alternatives meet the purpose and need for the project.
At this time, the project is scheduled to go to bid in Fiscal Year 2023-2024, though letting dates can and often do change based on funding availability and other factors. The project is estimated to cost approximately $11.5 million.
To read more about the project and its importance to the downtown Natchitoches area, click here.
All environmental documents can be accessed by clicking here.