Review of Environmental Impact Assessments of Coastal Road Projects

Focus Area

NEPA Process


Environmental Process




Under $99k


Under 1 year

Research Idea Scope

TERI Database Administrator Notes:  Not recommended at present time by 2009 Environmental Process Subcommittee.  A similar project was advanced through NCHRP 25-25, but was dropped because the issue is no longer of major concern in most DOTs.

We propose to synthesize previous environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for road projects in order to develop useful additional or substitutive criteria for evaluating road improvement to be used in future impact assessments. We will identify the suite of parameters that are commonly used to evaluate potential effects of road construction and modification on aquatic communities. We will then identify additional parameters that ODOT and other departments of transportation could include in future EIAs to comprehensively assess the impacts of road improvements on near-shore habitats. To examine parameters that are regularly measured in environmental impact assessments for road construction and expansion projects, we will conduct a literature review and meta-analysis of road project EIAs from across coastal California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. We will pay special attention to parameters used by only a subset of these states to identify additional potential factors that should be included in ODOT EIAs. Based on the findings, we will propose additional parameters and indicators that would be useful to include in future road construction and modification projects and the associated EIAs.

Urgency and Payoff

Our review thus far of environmental impact assessments for coastal roads show differences across states but with few EIAs including considerations for estuarine and marine life. As eelgrass and other important nursery grounds for our fisheries are likely impacted by coastal road projects, additional parameters and indicators may improve the effectiveness of EIAs in evaluating potential environmental impacts.

Suggested By

Catherine de Rivera, Portland State University, Tel. 503-725-9798

[email protected]