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Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources

Recent Developments

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Listed below are recent developments pertinent to historic preservation and cultural resources from the past six months.  If you would like to suggest a recent development on this topic, please submit a short description to AASHTO (including any pertinent links) on the Share Info with AASHTO form.

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National Park Service Funding Supports Park Infrastructure

The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the availability of more than $50 million to support maintenance and infrastructure projects at 42 parks in 29 states. The funding will be used to improve trails, roads and bridges, restore buildings, and increase visitor access to parks. The $20 million in federal funding will be added to funding from many non-federal partners. Projects will include addressing deferred maintenance on the Alluvial Fan Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the development of a multi-use trail to connect the visitor center at the Gettysburg National Military Park to a historic farm. Funding also will be used for maintaining and improving trails, retaining walls and overlooks at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park. For more information, link to the announcement. (7-24-17)

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FTA Issues Historic Context Report for Transit Rail System Development

A report documenting the historic context for rail transit projects in the U.S. has been issued by the Federal Transit Administration. The analysis will be used by the FTA in support of an exemption from historic preservation reviews for railroad rights-of-way used for transit. The exemption would relieve federal agencies from requirements to review of the effect of undertakings on railroad rights-of-way under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The nation’s most historically significant resources would be excluded from the exemption. The exemption is required under by Section 11504 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). For more information, link to the Historic Context Report. (6-15-17)

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FHWA Newsletter Addresses Compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA

The January 2017 edition of the Federal Highway Administration’s Successes in Stewardship newsletter addresses the four basic steps an agency may take to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The process ensures that agencies comply with Section 106 regulations from a project’s outset and helps to avoid time and cost overruns. The steps are initiating the Section 106 process, identifying historic properties, assessing adverse effects, and resolving adverse effects. For more information, link to the newsletter. (1-26-17)

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FRA, FTA Seek Input on Draft Section 106 Exemption for Rail ROW

The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration are gathering input on a draft exemption for railroad rights-of-way from review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Development of the exemption was required under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The exemption is being drafted by FRA and FTA and will be submitted to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which will publish it in the Federal Register for comment prior to finalizing it. A summary of the proposed approach was provided in a series of recent webinars and is available here. The agencies are seeking input on their proposed approach via e-mail at FRA.106Exemption@dot.gov. (12-20-16)

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NTHP Launches New Tool That Explores Urban Built Environment

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a new research tool, Atlas of ReUrbanism, that provides data currently available about cities to explore the connections between the physical character of urban development and a range of economic, social and environmental outcomes. Initial findings of the tool found that in New York City, blocks with older, smaller, mixed-age buildings have more racially and ethnically diverse populations, more than twice as many jobs in small businesses, and nearly twice as many women and minority-owned businesses. The tool currently features interactive maps for the five largest American cities, with plans to eventually include 50 major cities. For more information, link to the tool and the associated report. (12-12-16)

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FHWA Highlights Louisiana’s Efforts to Identify, Preserve Historic Bridges

The Federal Highway Administration has published the November edition of the Successes in Stewardship Newsletter, which highlights the efforts of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to identify, preserve and manage historically significant bridges built before 1971. The LADOTD, along with the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office and the FHWA, signed a programmatic agreement and completed a statewide management plan which shortened the project delivery process for historic bridge projects. Historic bridges are no longer processed individually for review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and bridge designers know in advance which bridges are committed for long-term preservation. For more information, link to the newsletter. (11-20-16)

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National Trust Announces 2016 List of America's Most Endangered Places

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its annual list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places, which seeks to highlight architectural, cultural, and historic sites that are at risk of being damaged or lost. This year's list of 11 historic places includes the San Francisco Embarcadero, which is threatened by sea level rise; downtown Flemington, N.J., a large historic district with 19th-century architecture; and the Sunshine Mile, a two-mile commercial corridor on Tucson, Ariz. that is threatened by a proposed boulevard widening project. For more information, link to the press release. (10-5-16)

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Featured Case Study

  • Case Study Photo

    Pennsylvania DOT has developed an interactive ‘Story Map’ to document history, mitigate impacts of the Potters Mills Gap Transportation Project.

    Read Case Study >Photo: Pennsylvania DOT

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AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)
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