Last July, we summarized a federal court decision, which put a hold on any expansion of State Trunk Highway 23 between Fond du Lac and Plymouth, Wisconsin.
You’ll remember that the decision focused on the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by DOT and the FHWA. Briefly put, the court concluded that the Environmental Impact Statement was too unclear. It failed to clearly show how the DOT applied its traffic projection models to Highway 23 and failed to explicitly say whether to examine new population data. Because of these problems, the court vacated earlier approval of the highway expansion.
Today, the case continues with further briefing and DOT’s second crack at the EIS as in December 2015, DOT moved to reinstate the record of decision and enter judgment in their favor.
Without going into too much detail, DOT argues that its new submissions – a brief outlining the basics and a more detailed technical memorandum – should adequately address any vague parts of the EIS. With these parts cleared up, DOT argues, the court should allow DOT’s highway expansion to go through. Therefore, the court should, according to DOT, reinstate the earlier approval for roadway expansion.
According to the court’s scheduling order, 1000 Friends will now have until late February to respond. Then, the agencies will have the opportunity to present a reply brief after that. The result is that briefing is scheduled to continue through late March of this year, at the earliest.