Final Nationwide Section 4(f) Evaluation and Approval for Federally-Aided Highway Projects with Minor Involvements with Historic Sites
Section 4(f) evaluation has been prepared for projects which improve existing
highways and use minor amounts of land (including non-historic improvements
thereon) from historic sites that are adjacent to existing highways. This
programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation satisfies the requirements of Section
4(f) for all projects that meet the applicability criteria listed below.
No individual Section 4(f) evaluations need be prepared for such projects.
(Note a similar programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation has been prepared
for projects which use minor amounts of publicly owned public parks, recreation
lands, or wildlife and waterfowl refuges).
The FHWA Division
Administrator is responsible for reviewing each individual project to
determine that it meets the criteria and procedures of this programmatic
Section 4(f) evaluation. The Division Administrator's determinations will
be thorough and will clearly document the items that have been reviewed.
The written analysis and determinations will be combined in a single document
and placed in the project record and will be made available to the public
upon request. This programmatic evaluation will not change the existing
procedures for project compliance with the National Environmental Policy
Act (NEPA) or with public involvement requirements.
Section 4(f) evaluation may be applied by FHWA only to projects meeting
the following criteria:
- The proposed project
is designed to improve the operational characteristics, safety, and/or
physical condition of existing highway facilities on essentially the
same alignment. This includes"4R" work (resurfacing, restoration,
rehabilitation and reconstruction); safety improvements, such as shoulder
widening and the correction of substandard curves and intersections;
traffic operation improvements, such as signalization, channelization,
and turning or climbing lanes; bicycle and pedestrian facilities; bridge
replacements on essentially the same alignment, and the construction
of additional lanes. This programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation does
not apply to the construction of a highway on a new location.
- The historic site
involved is located adjacent to the existing highway.
- The project does
not require the removal or alteration of historic buildings, structures
or objects on the historic site.
- The project does
not require the disturbance or removal of archeological resources that
are important to preserve in place rather than to remove for archeological
research. The determination of the importance to preserve in place will
be based on consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer
(SHPO) and, if appropriate, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
- The impact on
the Section 4(f) site resulting from the use of the land must be considered
minor. The word minor is narrowly defined as having either a "no
effect" or "no adverse effect" (when applying the requirements
of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and 36 CFR
Part 800) on the qualities which qualified the site for listing or eligibility
on the National Register of Historic Places. The ACHP must not object
to the determination of "no adverse effect."
- The SHPO must
agree, in writing, with the assessment of impacts of the proposed project
on and the proposed mitigation for the historic sites.
- This programmatic
evaluation does not apply to projects for which an environmental impact
statement (EIS) is prepared, unless the use of Section 4(f) lands is
discovered after the approval of the final EIS.
Should any of the
above criteria not be met, this programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation cannot
be used, and an individual Section 4(f) evaluation must be prepared.
The following alternatives
avoid any use of the historic site.
1. Do nothing.
2. Improve the highway
without using the adjacent historic site.
3. Build an improved
facility on new location without using the historic site.
This list is intended
to be all-inclusive. The programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation does not
apply if a feasible and prudent alternative is identified that is not
discussed in this document. The project record must clearly demonstrate
that each of the above alternatives was fully evaluated before the FHWA
Division Administrator concluded that the programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation
applied to the project.
In order for this
programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation to be applied to a project, each
of the following findings must be supported by the circumstances, studies,
and consultations on the project:
- Do Nothing
Alternative. The Do Nothing Alternative is not feasible and prudent
because: (a) it would not correct existing or projected capacity deficiencies
or (b) it would not correct existing safety hazards; or (c) it would
not correct existing deteriorated conditions and maintenance problems;
and (d) not providing such correction would constitute
a cost or community impact of extraordinary magnitude, or would result
in truly unusual or unique problems, when compared with the proposed
use of the Section 4(f) lands.
- Improvement without
Using the Adjacent Section 4(f) Lands. It is not feasible and prudent
to avoid Section 4(f) lands by roadway design or transportation system
management techniques (including, but not limited to, minor alignment
shifts, changes in geometric design standards, use of retaining walls
and/or other structures, and traffic diversions or other traffic management
measures) because implementing such measures would result in: (a) substantial
adverse community impacts to adjacent homes, businesses or other improved
properties; or (b) substantially increased roadway or
structure cost; or (c) unique engineering, traffic, maintenance,
or safety problems, or (d) substantial adverse social,
economic, or environmental impacts; or (e) the project not meeting identified
transportation needs; and (f) the impacts, costs, or problems would
be truly unusual or unique, or of extraordinary magnitude when compared
with the proposed use of Section 4(f) lands. Flexibility in the application
of American Association (page 4) of State Highway and Transportation
officials (AASHTO) geometric standards should be exercised, as permitted
in 23 CFR 625, during the analysis of this alternative.
on New Location. It is not feasible and prudent to avoid Section
4(f) lands by constructing on new alignment because (a) the new location
would not solve existing transportation safety or maintenance problems;
or (b) the new location would result in substantial adverse
social, economic, or environmental impacts (including such impacts as
extensive severing of productive farmlands, displacement of a substantial
number of families or businesses, serious disruption of established
travel patterns, substantial damage to wetlands or other sensitive natural
areas, or greater impacts to other Section 4(f) lands); or (c) the new
location would substantially increase costs or engineering difficulties
(such as an inability to achieve minimum design standards, or to meet
the requirements of various permitting agencies such as those involved
with navigation, pollution, and the environment); and
(d) such problems, impacts, costs, or difficulties would be truly unusual
or unique, or of extraordinary magnitude when compared with the proposed
use of Section 4(f) lands. Flexibility in the application of AASHTO
geometric standards should be exercised, as permitted in 23 CFR 625,
during the analysis of this alternative.
Measures to Minimize
Section 4(f) evaluation and approval may be used only for projects where
the FHWA Division Administrator, in accordance with this evaluation, ensures
that the proposed action includes all possible planning to minimize harm.
Measures to minimize harm will consist of those measures necessary to
preserve the historic integrity of the site and agreed to, in accordance
with 36 CFR Part 800 by the FHWA, the SHPO, and as appropriate, the ACHP.
The use of this programmatic
evaluation and approval is conditioned upon the satisfactory completion
of coordination with the SHPO, the ACHP, and interested persons as called
for in 36 CFR Part 800. Coordination with interested persons, such as
the local government, the property owner, a local historical society,
or an Indian tribe, can facilitate in the evaluation of the historic resource
values and mitigation proposals and is therefore highly encouraged.
For historic sites
encumbered with Federal interests, coordination is required with the Federal
agencies responsible for the encumbrances.
Before applying this
programmatic evaluation to projects requiring an individual bridge permit,
the Division Administrator shall coordinate with the U.S. Coast Guard
Section 4(f) approval applies only after the FHWA Division Administrator
- Determined that
the project meets the applicability criteria set forth above;
- Determined that
all of the alternatives set forth in the Findings section have been
- Determined that
the findings in this document (which conclude that there are no feasible
and prudent alternatives to the use of land from or non-historic improvements
on the historic site) are clearly applicable to the project;
- Determined that
the project complies with the Measures to Minimize Harm section of this
- Determined that
the coordination called for in this programmatic evaluation has been
- Assured that the
measures to minimize harm will be incorporated in the project; and
- Documented the
project file clearly identifying the basis for the above determinations
Issued on: 12/23/1986
Approved: /Original Signed By/ Ali F. Sevin, Director Office of Environmental
Policy Federal Highway Administration
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