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Memorandum of Agreement to Expedite the Review of Bridge Replacements on Secondary Roads between the Federal Highway Administration, the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Historical Commission

Whereas, the voters of the State of Alabama passed overwhelmingly a constitutional amendment for capital improvements such as bridge replacements; and

Whereas, the state of Alabama has more than 2100 bridges which are inadequate and failing; and

Whereas, it is in the interest of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), and the Alabama Historical Commission (AHC) to expedite the review for the effect of these replacements on historic resources;

Come now these parties to agree to the terms under which these bridge replacements will be reviewed:

  1. The AHC agrees that the Alabama Historic Bridge Inventory (AHBI) shall be considered the list of bridges built before January 1, 1955, while the Alabama Bridge Inventory (ABI) is a list of bridges including those built before and after 1955. Both inventories evaluated the eligibility of structures for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The AHC accepts the determinations of eligibility for the bridges listed in the AHBI. If there is a disagreement between the AHBI and the ABI concerning the eligibility for the NRHP, then the bridge will be considered eligible. ALDOT agrees to provide the AHC with an updated, current copy of both inventories on disk within 90 days of signing this agreement.
  2. Bridges that are listed in the AHBI or the ABI as not eligible for the NRHP, can be exempted from review as historic structure. If all the following requirements are met, projects can be exempt from archaeological review by the AHC:
  • No additional property is purchased except that which is currently in use as right of way
  • There will be no additional ground disturbance for construction, staging or parking beyond the existing road disturbed by previous construction
  • Archaeologists who meet the requirements of 36 CFR 61 from the Environmental Section of the ALDOT have consulted the Alabama archaeological site file and other pertinent records and found no sites within .25 miles of the area of potential effect (APE)
  1. Bridges that are listed in the ABI or the ABI as eligible for the NRHP will be reviewed for replacement by the AHC with all the following information from the ALDOT:
  • Bridge Inventory Data Form
  • Photographs of the bridge, quad map with the location, section, township, range, APE and location of any sites clearly marked.
  • Information about the number of bridges in the inventory of that type left in service.
  • Information about additional land required for construction or replacement.

Unless the AHC notifies the ALDOT otherwise, it is generally agreed that these replacements can proceed in 30 days without further consultation with the AHC as long as:

  • No additional ground disturbance is required for construction, staging or parking beyond the road disturbed by previous construction.
  • It does not have special historical significance or is not one of the last ten of the bridges of the type remaining in service. If the AHC determines that the bridge does have special significance or is one of the last remaining bridges of its type, the AHC and ALDOT will consult about appropriate documentation.

If any requirement is not met, separate project consultation is required.

  1. All bridges, which do not meet the above criteria, must be reviewed in accordance with the usual process under Section 106 of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended.
  2. The ALDOT agrees to supplement the information provided in AHBI by developing a context describing bridge building in Alabama by June 1, 2003. The context will discuss the types, builders, and important movements in bridge building history so that the information in the inventory can be understood and appreciated. The AHC and ALDOT will consult in the development of this historic context.
  3. The ALDOT will review with the AHC and revise as needed the specifications in bridge projects related to cultural resources. The ALDOT agrees to call special attention to these notes, and the stipulations in this agreement requiring that no additional property be disturbed by construction, staging or parking in the pre-construction conference with the contractor for each bridge replacement project.
  4. The ALDOT will submit an annual report by December 1 of each year of bridges replaced in the last fiscal year under this agreement. The report will include the bridge inventory number (BIN), name of the person performing the archaeological site file check, and the date that the contract for replacement or repair was awarded.

This agreement can be canceled in 30 calendar days by any of the consenting parties by notification of the other parties in writing. This agreement shall expire on December 31, 2005.

Signed April 2, 2001

Federal Highway Administration

Alabama Department of Transportation

Alabama Historical Commission

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