Guidance for Managing NEPA-Related Risks and Other Risks in Project Delivery

National Cooperative Highway Research Program

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Intro: This guidance is intended to assist federal and state transportation agencies in managing legal risks in the environmental review process for transportation projects, particularly highway projects, as part of a comprehensive approach to project risk management. The intended audience for this guidance includes Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and State department of transportation (State DOT) staff, as well as the consultants who work for them in preparing environmental documents under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and related federal and state laws.

In this guidance, the term "legal risk" includes any risks related to legal requirements, including permitting delays as well as litigation-related delays.

This guidance focuses on two aspects of managing legal risks:

  • Early identification and assessment of legal risks
  • Effective methods for managing legal risks.

This guidance document is derived from the legal research documented in Section 2 of this report. Section 2 includes a summary of case law involving challenges to environmental reviews for transportation projects, as well as case studies of six projects in which legal risks were effectively managed. The research and this guidance document were prepared under the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), project 20-24(71), and is an extension of a previous effort, Guide for Managing NEPA-Related and Other Risks in Project Delivery, published as NCHRP Web-Only Document 183 Volume 1.

To read the full online version of this study, please click here.

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