The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in cooperation with the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) proposes to construct a High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/express lane on southbound I-680 from Koopman Road in Alameda County to north of Alcosta Boulevard in Contra Costa County. The Project will include improvements in the median for southbound transportation facilities and a future northbound HOV/express lane, as well as southbound pavement rehabilitation within the Project limits. The Project will consist of the following primary components; addition of a new HOV/express lane in the southbound direction of I-680 from 0.8 mile north of Koopman Road to Alcosta Boulevard, installation of electronic tolling equipment and signage, widening/reconstruction of pavement in the median to accommodate the HOV/express lane, rehabilitation of existing pavement and new and replacement concrete barriers, retaining walls, and guard rails.
The Biological Study Area (BSA) is approximately 602.04 acres and includes the section of I-680 between PM 10.6 to PM 21.4 in Alameda County and between PM 0.0 to 0.5 in Contra Costa County. The Project is expected to impact 15 acres of suitable habitat for Covered Species within the I-680 corridor. Direct impacts from ground disturbance to California tiger salamander (CTS) suitable habitat include the permanent loss of 5.40 acres, temporary loss of 3.70 acres (2.79 acres from short term temporary impacts,0.91 acres from extended temporary impacts). Indirect impacts are expected to 5.90 acres of California tiger salamander suitable habitat from additional artificial light source installations. Direct impacts to Alameda whipsnake (AWS) suitable habitat include the permanent loss of 5.40 acres and the temporary loss 3.70 acres within the I-680 corridor. All direct impacts to AWS suitable habitat are concurrent with and overlap CTS suitable habitat.
The Project is expected to result in incidental take of the Covered Species, as defined by Fish and Game Code in the form of pursue; destruction of burrows and dens that the Covered Species inhabit; being crushed under moving vehicles and equipment; disturbance in the vicinity of dens or burrows; desiccation or predation along fence lines and other barriers to movement; and habitat alteration and decreased survivorship resulting from the installation of additional light sources, resulting in increased light pollution to Covered Species habitat. Take may also occur in the form of pursue, catch, capture, or attempt to do so from capture and relocation attempts. Relocation could result in mortality, injury, and/or disease transmission to Covered Species, both designated as a threatened species under CESA. The ITP referenced above as issued by CDFW authorizes incidental take of species listed under CESA that may occur as a result of Project implementation.