Environmental Assessment

Runway 220

Overview

The vital role of the Rochester International Airport (RST) in serving the Mayo Clinic’s patient and medical materials transport needs requires the Airport to be open and operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To meet critical aircraft operational needs, at least one runway always needs to remain fully operational. During the development of RST’s recent Airport Master Plan, it was recognized that the most significant need to continue the safe and efficient operation of the Airport was the reconstruction of both runways within the next decade, as the pavement on each runway is reaching the end of its useful life. The Master Plan identified a plan to reconstruct and extend RST’s north-south runway, Runway 2/20, while maintaining uninterrupted service. This will provide adequate runway length for RST’s critical users in order to support 24/7/365 operation of the Airport whenever the east-west runway, Runway 13/31, becomes unavailable.

In 2021, RST completed an environmental review process for proposed airfield improvements to provide this uninterrupted service. In addition to the runway reconstruction and extension, the proposed project involves moving utilities and roadways to accommodate the extension of Runway 2/20, including a petroleum pipeline, overhead power lines, and portions of 31st Avenue SW, 90th Street SW (former Trunk Highway 30), and 95th Street SW, and acquiring land associated with the Runway Protection Zone. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), RST and its consultant developed a Federal Environmental Assessment (EA), which evaluated the potential physical, environmental, and social impacts of the proposed action.

The Draft EA was made available for public review and comment from April 19 through June 1, 2021. A virtual public hearing was held on May 19, 2021. The meeting began with a presentation and Q&A, followed by the official public hearing. The public hearing transcript is included in Appendix I of the Final EA.

RST and its consultant then developed a Final EA that addressed the public and agency comments received during the comment period.

As the lead agency responsible for this EA, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision (FONSI/ROD) in July 2021 for the RST Runway 2/20 Project – Uninterrupted Service EA. Based on the analysis in the Final EA, the FAA determined that RST’s proposed project will not result in significant impacts to resources identified in accordance with FAA Orders 1050.1F and 5050.4B. Therefore, an environmental impact statement will not be prepared, and the project can proceed into design and construction.

Supplemental EA

Since issuing the 2021 EA FONSI/ROD, the FAA has determined that the approved action needs to be updated to include project components not explicitly considered by the 2021 EA. These include modifications to the petroleum pipeline alignment and limits of disturbance, construction staging areas, revised land acquisition boundaries, updated road easements, modifications to communication line relocations, additional tree clearing, relocated field accesses, and additional on-airport runway lights and access roads. In accordance with its responsibilities under NEPA, the FAA requires the City to complete a Supplemental EA (SEA) to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social effects of the proposed supplemental project components. The results of the analysis are published in the Draft SEA document, which can be accessed below. The supplemental project components include an additional .08 acres of temporary wetland impacts.

Draft SEA Documents for Public Review

The Draft SEA is available online to the public through the following links. For ease of accessing the document, the main report body file includes the figures at the end of each associated chapter, while each appendix can be downloaded separately. The comment period for the Draft SEA is from January 15, 2023, through February 26, 2023.

Report Body (Including Figures)
Draft Federal Supplemental Environmental Assessment for Runway 2/20 Project – Uninterrupted Service

Appendices
Appendix A – Listed Species
Appendix B – Cultural Resources
Appendix C – Wetland Delineation and Correspondence
Appendix D – Public and Stakeholder Engagement Materials

A physical copy of the Draft SEA can be viewed at the RST Airport Administration office (7600 Helgerson Dr. SW, Rochester, MN 55902). In-person viewing is by appointment only; please call 507-282-2328 ext. 6 to schedule. The Airport Administration office is ADA accessible.

Public Hearing & Public Comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 6:00 pm

The City of Rochester will hold a public hearing on February 15, 2023, via a virtual Zoom meeting, to receive testimony relative to the draft federal SEA for the RST Runway 2/20 Project – Uninterrupted Service. The virtual public hearing will also be aired at the Airport for anyone unable to access the meeting virtually and wishing to attend in person. There will be a presentation beginning at 6:00 p.m., including an opportunity for the public to ask questions, with the public hearing to follow. The purpose of the public hearing is to address the supplemental proposed action’s potential economic, social, and environmental effects. All interested persons are invited to attend and to present concise, relevant oral and written statements concerning the economic, social, and environmental effects of the supplemental project components. There is no set end time for the public hearing. The hearing will conclude once all who wish to give public testimony have had the opportunity to do so.

To attend the virtual public hearing, the public is encouraged to register in advance and receive the Zoom meeting link.
Zoom Public Hearing – Register Here

Alternately, the public can participate by phone (audio only) or the Zoom website by using the phone number or link along with the meeting ID and passcode listed below:

Phone: 312-626-6799
www.zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 862 3038 3573
Passcode/Participant ID: 024853

Those wishing to attend the virtual public hearing in person should RSVP to the RST Airport Administration office at 507-282-2328 ext. 6 no later than 4:00 p.m. CST on Monday, February 13, 2023.

Written comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. CST on February 26, 2023. Written comments can be submitted via email to [email protected] or mailed to:

Rochester International Airport SEA Comments
c/o Colleen Bosold, Mead & Hunt
7900 International Drive, Suite 980
Bloomington, MN 55425

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.