Comments open for south gate traffic improvements

The Environmental Assessment/Assessment of Effect (EA/AEF) for the park's South Entrance Road Improvements project is available for review and public comment through Aug. 20.

The EA/AEF evaluates a No Action Alternative and a Preferred Alternative to improve the South Entrance Road (Highway 64) between Tusayan and the main entrance station. Improvements will address the crowding and safety issues during the high visitor use season, as well as to improve the experience of those entering the park through the South Entrance.

Some improvements have already been made, including adding a new entrance lane and kiosks.

The park is working with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) to address the proposed work in the ADOT easement south of the park boundary. The preferred alternative includes constructing up to two additional northbound lanes approximately a mile long; restriping the road from the park boundary to the entrance station; and constructing a half-mile independent bypass lane.

The proposed road improvements in the preferred alternative have been considered in the larger planning effort for the upcoming South Rim Visitor Transportation Plan Environmental Assessment (Transportation Plan) expected to be released this fall.

This project was separated from the larger plan to address visitor experience and safety concerns and to expedite implementation. Although this project would precede the finalization of the Transportation Plan, it would ensure compatibility with future transportation options.

The EA/AEF can be reviewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca by clicking on the project name, and then scrolling to "Open for Public Comments." Comments can also be submitted online at the same Web address (the preferred method) or mailed to Steve Martin, Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park, Attention: South Entrance Road Improvements, P.O. Box 129 (1 Village Loop for express mail), Grand Canyon, Ariz., 86023.

The NPS encourages public participation through the NEPA process. After the public review period, the comments received will be carefully considered before a decision is made regarding implementation of the South Entrance Road Improvements project.

For additional information, contact Project Planning Leader Rachel Stanton at 928-774-9612 or Project Manager Vicky Stinson at 928-774-3026.

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