By USCG and Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc
The United States Coast Guard, as the lead federal agency, announces the availability of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) NEPA implementing regulations, and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), evaluating the potential environmental consequences of permitting the replacement of the existing BNSF Railway Bridge across the Missouri River between the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, ND, or constructing a bridge adjacent to the existing bridge. The applicant proposes to remove the existing structure, which is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Coast Guard is analyzing proposed alternatives, through the NEPA and NHPA processes, to construct the new bridge while retaining the existing bridge.
With in-service components that are over 130 years old and a history of exposure to ice jams, Bridge 196.6 is approaching the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced to safely move future rail traffic along the BNSF northern corridor. The existing structure has shallow-foundation piers. BNSF has deemed the structure to be scour critical, which requires underwater inspections to be conducted every 5 years and after significant high-water events. Restrictions in load clearance and axle spacing limit the size and type of railcar that can traverse Bridge 196.6.