Skip to Main Content

Tennessee Environmental Procedures Manual

Chapter 10: Environmental Evaluation of State-Funded Projects

10.2 Types of State-Funded Projects

Categories of state-funded transportation projects for which a TEER may be needed include the following:

  • State Industrial Access (SIA) roads;
  • Local Interstate Connectors (LIC);
  • Safety improvements;
  • State Aid Program (listed in State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) as STA) - including some new two lane and four lane roadway sections, and highway widening;
  • Bridge grant program; and
  • Other new or expanded state-funded roads.

Each of these categories is discussed briefly below.

10.2.1 State Industrial Access Roads

The Tennessee Industrial Highways Act of 1959 (TCA 54-5-403) authorizes TDOT to contract with cities and counties to develop industrial highways to provide access to industrial sites and parks and to facilitate the development and expansion of industry. The typical section of a state industrial access (SIA) road is two 12-foot lanes with four foot shoulders, but additional lanes or other features may be requested by the local government using non-participating funds. After construction, the industrial highway does not become a part of the state route highway system; instead, the local government assumes full responsibility for its maintenance.

Local government officials must make an application to TDOT's Project Management Office to have their project considered under this program. Upon receipt of an application, the Project Management Office coordinates with the Environmental Division on field reviews, environmental evaluations, agency coordination and permits.

The information and application package for the SIA program can be obtained from the TDOT website at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/projectmgmt/sia.asp. This package contains a set of environmental guidelines for the development of proposed SIA roads.

back to top

10.2.2 Local Interstate Connectors

Tennessee's Local Interstate Connecting Route Act of 1965, as amended, allows TDOT to work with cities and counties to establish and construct a system of connector routes to provide adequate access to the Interstate highway system from existing road and street networks along the Interstate system. The local government and the state share equally in the costs of these connectors, but the local government assumes full responsibility for maintenance of the local Interstate connectors (LIC) following construction.

Local government officials must make a formal application to TDOT through the Office of Local Programs, under the Program Development Division. Upon receipt of an application, TDOT's Local Programs Office notifies the Environmental Division and the Project Planning Division of the proposal. These two divisions then conduct a preliminary study of the proposed project to determine its feasibility, the most advantageous locations, any adverse environmental impacts, the estimated cost of the project, and any other pertinent data.

Guidelines for preparing an application for construction and/or reconstruction of a local Interstate connector are found on the TDOT website at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/local/docs/LICBOOK.doc.

back to top

10.2.3 Safety Improvements

State-funded safety improvements include, but may not be limited to, such activities as installation or replacement of guardrail, signing, signalization, intersection improvements, flashing signs, roadside obstacle removal, shoulder improvement or provision, and sidewalks. Information on the types of projects that can be funded by the Safety Program can be found at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/local/prog.htm. The program is available through the Office of Local Programs. Federal monies may also be available for these safety projects, but in some instances, the projects may be entirely state-funded.

Most of these projects would fall under the programmatic categorical exclusions under NEPA, as discussed in Chapter 3, Section 3.5.3, Programmatic CEs, and require a minimum level of environmental studies and documentation if they were federally funded. In these instances, a state-funded safety improvement project would be documented with a Minor TEER. If the project would have required an EA had it been federally funded, then it requires preparation of a Major TEER as a state-funded project. The project contract prepared by the Operational Safety Coordinator initiates the need for an environmental evaluation, if necessary. The Office of Local Programs informs the Environmental Division, which is responsible for the preparation of any necessary environmental documentation.

back to top

10.2.4 State Aid Projects

The State Aid Program provides state funding assistance to county governments for the improvement or rehabilitation of roads on the state highway system. The types of qualifying work include planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, grading, drainage, bridge construction, and pavement upgrades or rehabilitation. The State Aid System may comprise no more than 20 percent of the total road miles in a county. Two criteria of the program are that the roadways receiving state aid: 1) serve all communities within the county; and 2) function as connector routes linking the important traffic generators within the county. The majority of State Aid projects are roadway widenings and pavement upgrades.

The State Aid Office informs the Environmental Division, which is responsible for the preparation of any required documentation. The program is managed through the State Aid Office in the Maintenance Division. Some of the State Aid Program projects would require a Minor TEER due to their minor potential for environmental impacts. Other, more complicated projects may require the acquisition of right-of-way, and thus require the preparation of a Major TEER to document the environmental review process, provided they meet the requirements listed in Section 10.1 .

back to top

10.2.5 Bridge Grant Program

This program, managed through TDOT's Maintenance Division, funds the replacement of deficient bridges on the local highway system through a state grant program. Many of these bridge projects would require a Minor TEER, due to their minor potential for environmental impacts. Other projects are more complicated and require the acquisition of right-of-way. For these more complicated projects, the environmental consequences and mitigation measures must be documented in a Major TEER. The local government recipient is responsible for preparing the environmental documentation, and must follow the guidelines for the TEER documents as defined in this Chapter. The TEER must be submitted to the Environmental Division for review and approval prior to construction of the project.

back to top

10.2.6 Other New or Expanded State Roads

This category includes any other new or expanded state-funded roads or highways that may not be included in the five programs described above. An example of a project that falls in this category is State Route 840 South in Middle Tennessee.

back to top