Environmental Review Process

We are conducting the environmental review process for the River Crossing portion of the Canyon Road Regional Connection Project to consider environmental information (impacts and mitigation) before committing to a course of action.

Through this process, we will identify and evaluate probable impacts and mitigation measures, emphasizing important environmental impacts (including cumulative, short-term, long-term, direct, and indirect).

We will encourage public involvement in decision-making. We are preparing concise and easy-to-read draft documents that we expect to share in early 2022, followed by a formal public hearing to finalize the document in late 2022.

An environmental review process for the Railroad Crossing portion of the project is complete

River view

Fish and wildlife habitat will be considered as part of the environmental review process.

Environmental Resource Areas

The environmental review documents will describe the current state of the project area in several ways (see below). We will consider both beneficial and unfavorable effects, as well as direct and indirect consequences of doing something new to the area or leaving it as-is. We will measure the significance of an impact based on the context, intensity, and effect on the environment. Then we will identify possible ways to avoid or minimize unfavorable impacts.

Water Resources and Erosion Control

Managing the effects our daily activities and construction projects have on groundwater and surface water helps us protect and improve water quality and habitat.

Fish and Wildlife

Riparian and aquatic areas provide important habitats for sensitive wildlife species. Transportation projects can affect these resources and Pierce County is committed to identifying and mitigating impacts.

Wetlands and Streams

Wetlands consist of any lands where soil is sometimes covered by water, including rivers, lakes, streams, and estuaries. Pierce County works to prevent net loss of wetlands and minimize effects if they are unavoidable during the development of transportation projects.

Cultural Resources

Pierce County is committed to mitigating impacts to archaeological sites, historic buildings, roads, and bridges, and places on the landscape that are historically significant to Washington State.

Air Quality

Emissions from vehicles may have an effect on particulate matter and toxins in the air.


Noise generated on our roadways may require mitigation when it reaches certain levels.

Hazardous Materials

Materials including lead, creosote, asbestos, chemically contaminated sediment, releases from underground storage tanks, or other solid waste may be encountered or generated by our transportation projects. Pierce County works to ensure these materials are contained and disposed of properly.

Social, Community, and Visual Resources

These can include social, economic, community, equity, and relocation impacts. This analysis examines how the proposed transportation improvements affect the people who live, work, and play in the vicinity of the project.

Section 4(f) Resources

These resources include public parks and recreation lands, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and historic sites. Under Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Act of 1966, projects that receive funding or approval by any USDOT must avoid impacts to Section 4(f) properties. When a project cannot avoid Section 4(f) properties, Section 4(f) requires documentation and approval by the federal lead USDOT agency.

Community feedback

Pierce County plans to conduct a second open house to review draft findings from the River Crossing Environmental Review in early 2022.

Pierce County accepted public comments for this effort from July 7 to August 7, 2020 via an online open house. You can view our responses to questions we received. Read a summary of how we engaged the community in our scoping process.

We heard these themes from community members who provided input during the comment period:

  • Questions about preserving or moving the Milroy Bridge
  • Concern about congestion and traffic flow
  • Ideas for bike/pedestrian improvements and safety
  • Questions about specific property impacts
  • Questions about project design
  • Concerns about environmental impact
  • Concern about agricultural community