It is anticipated that all Merger Projects implement the new process by June 30, 2023. Please note the following Merger Process changes:
- There is now an internal NCDOT Merger Pre-screening process that should be applied to all NCDOT projects.
- Every project will have a Merger Plan. Projects currently in the Merger Process will need to develop a Merger Plan that shows completed concurrence points and the plan to move forward.
- There is a new public involvement process for Merger Projects that meets USACE needs for permitting – this replaces the Merger Permit Application.
- Merger Training modules are available and NCDOT Project Managers are encouraged to use them.
- Merger packet templates and supporting information examples are available and NCDOT Project Managers are expected to use them.
This guidance is specific to the Section 404/NEPA Merger Process. It does not take the place of any needed or required coordination for other regulatory compliance (e.g. effects determinations under Section 106 of NHPA). As such:
- NCDOT maintains its responsibility to ensure projects are permittable.
- Many Merger Projects have project-specific needs that may not be covered in this training. The NCDOT Project Manager should work with the MMT to ensure agencies are provided with any required information to achieve concurrence.
- If agency-specific issues arise, proactive coordination with that agency should take place.
- Agency representatives maintain their responsibility to ensure that all of their statutory and regulatory requirements are met.
- Project designs through CP 4C should be considered preliminary and subject to change. It is the responsibility of the NCDOT Project Manager to alert the Merger Team Chair if any proposed design change negatively impacts a previously agreed upon avoidance and minimization measure or project commitment. Their input will be shared with the Merger Team to determine if a design change requires revisiting a previously agreed upon concurrence point.
- If a project is placed into Merger after initially being screened out, all concurrence points must be completed.
- NCDOT has developed multiple trainings on NEPA, project management, and other technical requirements which should be used to ensure compliance with those requirements.
The formal Merger Process is complete after comments on CP 4C have been addressed. All projects, including those in Merger, must comply with all agreed upon avoidance and minimization measures, commitments, and regulatory requirements through permitting, construction, and operations and maintenance.