The Howard Street Tunnel (HST) Project consists of vertical clearance improvements along CSX’s I-95 Rail Corridor to allow double-stack trains (trains transporting shipping containers stacked on top of each other) to travel between Baltimore, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The primary obstacle to double-stack service along this corridor has been the Howard Street Tunnel, a 1.7-mile-long railroad passage under the heart of Baltimore that was originally constructed in 1895. With current vertical clearances up to 18 inches less than the 21 feet necessary for double-stack, the HST and 21 other clearance obstructions currently restrict the ability to move double-stack trains along this section of CSX’s network, including to and from the Port of Baltimore.
Utilizing funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, CSX, the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the HST Project will eliminate all remaining double-stack obstructions between Baltimore and Philadelphia. The HST Project consists of the following work, at the following locations.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The HST Project has been evaluated in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA process requires federal agencies to assess the potential environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions regarding the proposed action. The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the federal agency leading the NEPA process for this project. An Environmental Assessment (EA) document was prepared in accordance with NEPA and FRA’s NEPA implementing regulations to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the HST Project. The EA and associated appendices are available for review by clicking on the below links.
Due to COVID-19 protocols, traditional public open houses could not be offered as part of the EA comment period that ran from March 1, 2021 until April 13, 2021. Instead, the following video was produced that summarizes the HST Project’s purpose and need, scope of work and potential environmental impacts
Following the EA comment period, the Federal Railroad Administration prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document to respond to comments and incorporate project updates since the release of the EA. The FONSI and associated appendices are available for review by clicking the below link.
FINDING OF NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT
The FONSI represents final NEPA approval for the HST Project.
CSX is now able to finalize engineering, obtain permits and advance the project to construction. CSX expects to begin construction, in phases, later in 2021 and 2022.