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I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project

I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project

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Project Overview

The Canoe Creek Bridges

The I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges are dual multi-span structures (one eastbound and one westbound) that were built in 1966, extended in 1985 and underwent multiple repairs for cracking since 2013. These bridges cross over Canoe Creek and SR 4005 (Tippecanoe Road) in Beaver Township, Clarion County. Combined, they will carry an estimated average of 30,100 vehicles per day by 2025. About 50 percent of the traffic over these bridges is truck traffic.

Study Area Map

The study area for the I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project extends approximately three miles on I-80, from the Knox Interchange over the bridges to a pair of weigh stations near milepost 56.5. The project includes the total replacement of both the eastbound (EB) and westbound (WB) Canoe Creek Bridges, as well as improved roadway alignment and geometry.

Purpose & Need

The purpose of the I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project is to provide a safe and reliable crossing of I-80 over Tippecanoe Road and Canoe Creek. While both bridges have been repaired several times throughout their lifespan, recent inspections show the westbound bridge is in poor condition, and the eastbound bridge is in fair condition.

We've identified several needs this project is intended to address:

Current and increasing traffic volumes

I-80 is a major trucking route through Pennsylvania, and this portion of the corridor is a vital thoroughfare in the rural western part of the state.

The bridges' aging structures

At 55 years old, the bridges are aging and are fracture critical, meaning they will soon require more frequent and costly repairs. In addition, the age and condition of the bridges necessitate more frequent inspections, increasing the amount of short-term lane closures.

Need for design improvements

There is also a need for general design improvements throughout the corridor to improve safety and meet modern design standards.

Canoe Creek bridge over Tippecanoe Road
I-80 above Canoe Creek and Tippecanoe Road

Project Design

The project includes the total replacement of both the eastbound and westbound Canoe Creek Bridges, as well as improved roadway alignment and geometry. The limits of the project extend approximately three miles on I-80, from the Knox Interchange, over the Canoe Creek Bridges to a pair of weigh stations near milepost 56.5.

Part of the project also includes the rehabilitation of the existing reinforced concrete Thompson Hill Arch Culvert that carries an unnamed tributary to Canoe Creek under I-80. The existing wingwalls at the inlet and outlet of the culvert are deteriorated and will be replaced. Stream channel embankments will be protected with rock to prevent future erosion near the inlet and outlet of the culvert.

In addition, a reinforced concrete slab will be constructed along the floor of the culvert to prevent further scour of the streambed within the limits of the culvert.

The project's overall design remains essentially the same as it was at the time of its CE approval in April 2020.

Two lanes of traffic in both directions of I-80 will be maintained during construction.

I-80 canoe creek plan sheet map
Click to see a detailed project design.

Environmental Studies & Mitigation

Categorical Exclusion Reevaluation

A Categorical Exclusion Reevaluation documents how a project would affect the surrounding community's quality of life, including health, safety, cultural resources and more.

Through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental review process, the I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project was approved as a Categorical Exclusion (CE) in April 2020, and the project team was permitted to move forward with final design and right-of-way acquisition. In February 2021, the project was selected as a candidate for bridge tolling under the Major Bridge Public-Private Partnership (MBP3) and an Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared to study the potential impacts related to tolling and toll diversion in accordance with NEPA. The EA was made available for public comment on April 19, 2022, and a public hearing was held on May 4, 2022. In July 2022, the General Assembly amended the state's P3 law to remove tolling as a means of funding the MBP3. As a result, PennDOT is moving the I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges project forward, but without tolling.

A CE Reevaluation is being completed for the I-80 Canoe Creek Bridges Project to evaluate and document the effects of the build alternative with tolling removed. Since tolling will not be initiated, diversion of traffic onto local roads to avoid the tolls will not occur. Therefore, the proposed improvements along the diversion routes will no longer be included in the project. Approval of the CE Reevaluation is anticipated this fall (2022).

Section 106 (Cultural Resources)

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is applicable to federal agencies and requires identification of, and assessment of effects on, historic properties and archaeological sites listed on, or eligible for listing on, the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Consultation with persons interested in the historic and archaeological properties/sites is integral to the Section 106 process and the public's involvement in the project. The Section 106 process includes identifying an area of potential effect (APE) for the project, and inviting property owners within that APE, as well as historical societies and others, to participate in the Section 106 process as "Consulting Parties." Separate APEs are established for the archaeological investigations and for above-ground historical properties.

One recorded historic industrial site, 36CL0198 Tippecanoe Furnace was re-identified via a pedestrian survey. The 36CL0198 Tippecanoe Furnace site is located almost entirely within existing PennDOT right of way; however, during construction the furnace remains will be fenced off and avoided. Any intact soils at the site or in the immediate vicinity would either be fenced off and avoided or protected using geotextile material and the appropriate amount of fill.

Of the areas with intact soils in the APE, there are two locations, designated Area A and Area B, that are going to be impacted and were deemed to contain intact soils with archaeological potential. A Phase I survey consisting of sub-surface excavation was conducted within these areas. One unrecorded site with pre-contact and historic components, 36CL0211 Edenburg Well site was identified. However, the portion of the site within the APE does not contribute to the site's overall eligibility. During construction, to prevent inadvertent disturbance, the portion of the site beyond the APE would be fenced off and avoided.

Wetland and Waterways Impacts

Wetland and waterway impacts were studied as a part of the NEPA process. The following impacts were identified.

Streams, Rivers & Watercourses Presence Impacts
Intermittent (Streams only) Present 1,794 linear feet
Perennial Present 160 linear feet
Wild Trout Streams Present 1,954 linear feet
Stocked Trout Streams Present 1,954 linear feet
Federal Wild & Scenic Rivers & Streams Not Present No
State Scenic Rivers & Streams Not Present No
Coast Guard Navigable Waterways Not Present No
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission Water Trail Not Present No
Recreational Boating Waterway Present No

Canoe Creek and 19 of its unnamed tributaries were identified in the immediate project area. These streams were identified by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Chapter 93 Water Quality Standards as High Quality Cold Water Fishes streams. About 1,954 linear feet of streams would be impacted due to the permanent widening of the bridge and culvert extensions.

There would also be 2,182 linear feet of temporary stream impacts during construction. Due to the unavoidable permanent impacts to the jurisdictional streams associated with the I-80 Canoe Creek Project, there is a total loss of 95 linear feet that would be mitigated off-site.

Canoe Creek is designated as both a Stocked Trout Water and a Wild Trout Water stream. As a result, no work will be permitted in Canoe Creek and its unnamed tributaries from February 15 to June 1 (for stocked trout) and October 1 to December 31 (for wild trout).

Wetlands Presence Impacts
Open Water Not Present No
Vegetated Emergent Present 0.085 acres
Vegetated Scrub Shrub Not Present No
Vegetated Forested Not Present No
Exceptional Value Present 0.085 acres

Field investigations identified and delineated 18 wetlands within the project study area. There would be permanent impacts to five wetland areas as a result of the project. The total acreage of these impacts is 0.085 acres.

Wetland impacts would be mitigated through PennDOT's Clarion County Wetland Bank. Remaining acreage within the bank is 1.997 acres. Stream impacts would be mitigated through use of Resource Environmental Solutions off-site mitigation bank and on-site mitigation. Wetlands within the project study area that are not impacted by the project would be delineated with protective orange construction fencing.

Canoe Creek surrounded by dense woodlands
Canoe Creek

Threatened & Endangered Plants & Animals

A review determined there are no known impacts anticipated to threatened and endangered plants and animals within the project area.

Environmental Justice

Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low-Income Populations (February 11, 1994), directs federal agencies to identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of programs, policies and activities on minority and low-income populations.

  • Low-income is defined as a person whose median household income is at or below the Department of Health and Human Services federal poverty guidelines ($26,500 for a household of four).
  • Minority is a person who is: (1) Black (2) Hispanic or Latino (3) Asian American (4) American Indian and Alaskan Native, or (5) Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.

While there may be low income and minority populations living in the general project area, the project involves replacing an existing bridge and improvements to the existing roadway. The end result will be an improved roadway for all to use. There will be no disproportionately high and adverse effects on low income and minority populations.

Socioeconomic Areas

Public Facilities & Services: Access for public facilities and services would be improved due to design improvements resulting from the project.

Right of Way Acquisitions: No relocation of people, businesses or farms; all acquisition conducted in accordance with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisitions Policies Act of 1970, as amended; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code of 1964.

No effects on regional and community growth, community cohesion or aesthetics.