The environmental study process

This international transportation improvement project required approvals from governments on both sides of the border. A coordinated process that met the legislated requirements from governments on both sides of the border including the OEAA (Ontario Environmental Assessment Act) and the CEAA (Canadian Environmental Assessment Act) in Canada and the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) in the United States was developed.

These separate pieces of legislation all require that the environmental studies be thorough, open, transparent and fully accessible to the public for scrutiny and evaluation. The study team worked with the public, communities, and interested groups on both sides of the border, to develop a solution that best meets future transportation needs, while minimizing community impacts. A key principle of this process is that all affected and interested parties are given the opportunity to participate and offer input throughout the study. As a result, the study team held over 300 consultation meetings seeking community and stakeholder input at key points during the study.

Following four years of intensive study, in 2008, the partnership concluded its coordinated environmental study identifying the bridge and plaza locations on both sides of the border, the Ontario access road (now known as the Rt. Hon. Herb Gray Parkway), and the U.S. interchange connection as the technically and environmentally preferred alternative (TEPA).