Department of Transportation

Environmental Analysis

The Categorical Exclusion Document for Route 70 from Route 38 (Mile Post 0.00) to Cropwell Road (Mile Post 7.70) was approved by New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) on February 4, 2016. Since the approval of the document, the project limits were extended to Cooper Avenue (Mile Post 8.80) and additional utility improvements were added to the project. As a result, the project is currently undergoing an environmental reevaluation.

What is a Categorical Exclusion?

As a recipient of federal transportation funds for this project’s design phase, NJDOT must comply with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA)’s implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). NEPA requires agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions that involve federal funds.

To comply, NJDOT assesses environmental effects of a project through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Categorical Exclusion (CE), or Environmental Assessment (EA). The level of analysis is based on a project’s likelihood to cause significant social, economic, and environmental impacts. A federal action may be "categorically excluded" from a detailed environmental analysis when the federal action is found not to have a significant effect on the human environment. During the Concept Development Phase of this project, it was determined that a CE is the appropriate level of environmental analysis.

The CED provides a concise evaluation of environmental impacts and is approved when it finds that no significant adverse impacts will occur. Although a public hearing is not required by NEPA, a public information center presenting the CED was held on November 19, 2015 in Cherry Hill Township. Visit the public involvement page to read more about public involvement activities for Route 70, Route 38 to Cooper Avenue.

Environmental Constraints

The study area for the CED encompasses 250 feet from the outer edge of any improvements to Route 70 from Route 38 (Mile Post 0.00) to Cropwell Road (Mile Post 7.70) and includes Pennsauken and Cherry Hill Townships in Camden County and Evesham Township in Burlington County.

Land Use - The study area is predominantly residential and commercial development with some scattered waters, wetlands, and forested areas.

portable sign photo
Commercial businesses on Route 70 westbound
in Cherry Hill
Socioeconomics- Potential impacts upon the study area's population, particularly low-income and minority populations, were carefully examined. No significant socioeconomic or Environmental Justice impacts are anticipated.

Noise - The project will cause temporary construction-related impacts only. Standard methods to minimize noise during construction are currently being determined.

Traffic - No change to traffic levels will occur due to the project.

Visual -Visual The project is not anticipated to have visual impacts to the existing natural and built environment.

Ecology - United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)’s Information, Planning, and Conservation System revealed there are no federally-listed species currently present in the project’s study area. Because the proposed activities will have no effect on federally-listed species, no significant impact anticipated. Relevant general recommendations to protect other wildlife resources will be addressed in the project design

Waterways and Wetlands - Twenty State open waters and twenty-one freshwater wetlands were identified within the project area. While the project will affect regulated State open waters, several open water areas are manmade stormwater basins and drainage conveyances (ditches and pipes), which do not meet the definition of a State open water as defined by the NJDEP Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules. Freshwater wetlands affected by the project consist of palustrine forested, scrub/shrub, and/or emergent communities. Most wetlands meet the criteria for classification as Intermediate Resource Value (which have a 50-foot transition area), with the remainder being Ordinary Resource Value (which have no transition area). Cooper River and its upstream tributaries have a riparian zone width of 300 feet. All other streams within the project area have a riparian zone width of 50 feet.
The project area is located over the New Jersey Coastal Plain sole source aquifer system, which is the sole source of drinking water for a majority of Southern Jersey. Review under the Safe Drinking Water Act is not required due to project scope.

Air- The project is included in the current approved State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP). Based on the project scope, the project is categorized by the Transportation Conformity Rule (TCR) as a project type listed in Table 2 of the TCR which is exempt from the conformity requirements of the Conformity with the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) of 1990.

Recreation and Community Resources - Camden County’s Cooper River Park is located within the project area. The project calls for the replacement of one conveyance pipe and outfall system located with the park. All work involved in replacing the pipe and outfall will be performed within the existing 10-foot maintenance easement. Green Acres coordination will be required for the temporary construction access areas within the park as well as the removal of any trees along the river. Temporary construction access is needed for outfall reconstruction at Cooper River Park (Block 27.01 Lot 1).

portable sign photo
A multi-use path along the water
in Cooper River Park
Cultural Resources - For historic resources, environmental constraints include historic buildings, structures, objects, or districts that have been listed in, determined eligible for listing in, or are potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. The following historic sites are located within the project area: Cooper River Park Historic District, Delaware River Railroad and Bridge Company Historic District, and Bonnie’s Bridge (Wayland Road over Sawmill Creek).

The Jersey Historic Preservation Office (NJHPO) concurred with NJDOT findings that the project will have No Effect on known or unknown cultural resources due to the scope of the proposed project. Furthermore, this project will not have an effect to any potential archaeological sites based on project plans and soil borings, which demonstrate the project is within previously disturbed areas.

' Hazardous Materials and Landfills - There are several gas stations and railroad crossings within the project area. There is low potential for involvement with regulated material or contaminated sites.

Identified Impacts - The proposed project will result in the disturbance of freshwater wetlands, State open waters, transition areas, floodplains, and riparian zones. As such, the project was required to obtain an NJDEP Freshwater Wetland Individual Permit and NJDEP Flood Hazard Area Individual Permit.

The project will result in the following impacts:
  • Less than 0.10 acre of permanent/temporary disturbance to freshwater wetlands
  • Less than 0.10 acre of permanent/temporary disturbance to State open waters
  • Less than 0.5 acre of permanent/temporary disturbance to wetland transition areas
  • Approximately 0.6 acre of permanent/temporary disturbance to riparian buffer vegetation

The proposed improvements will disturb approximately 0.6 acre of vegetation in the regulated 50-foot and 300-foot riparian zones of the project waterways for the reconstruction of a public roadway crossing multiple waterways and upgrades to existing culverts/stormwater discharge structures.

Mitigation of riparian zone vegetation will be required for the disturbance of riparian zone in exceedance of the limits set forth in Table 11.2 of N.J.A.C. 7:13-11.2 of the Flood Hazard Area Control Act Rules, as well as for the total area of vegetation that is cleared, cut, and/or removed within a 300-foot riparian zone.

Environmental Commitments
  • Implement soil erosion and sediment control measures during construction, as required.
  • Implement standard measures for minimizing construction-related noise impacts.
  • Obtain and comply with applicable NJDEP permits, during construction.
  • Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout construction.
Additional environmental commitments will be provided when the approved permits are received.

Last updated date: October 7, 2021 10:24 AM