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Case Study - Maryland
Statewide Programmatic Agreement for Maryland’s Historic Highway Bridges
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM:
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has completed a comprehensive historic bridge survey of Maryland’s state and county owned highways. This inventory was updated in 2010 to include all SHA owned bridges constructed through the year 1965. All of these bridges were evaluated for National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility using a statewide context for historic highway bridges, in consultation with Maryland State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), local governments, historic preservation commissions and heritage areas. As a result of the inventory, 168 state-owned bridges have been determined eligible or are listed in the NRHP.
To streamline consultation between the SHA and SHPO, and more effectively manage Maryland’s eligible State-owned bridges, SHA and SHPO developed the statewide Programmatic Agreement (PA), which was executed by FHWA, SHA, SHPO, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) on July 19, 2013. It identifies three treatment categories for SHA-owned and managed historic bridges and includes provisions for the management and corresponding review processes for National Register-eligible or listed bridges in each of these three categories.
In addition, the PA requires that SHA:
While the PA does not cover locally-owned bridges, it includes a stipulation specifically encouraging FHWA, SHA, and MD SHPO to promote the appropriate stewardship of non-SHA owned historic bridges in Maryland through their respective agency programs.
WHY THIS IS A GOOD AGREEMENT:
The PA was developed through a lengthy consultation between SHA and the Maryland SHPO and the resulting document includes some very good stipulations that provide for long-term preservation, and an attitude of stewardship concerning the most important state-owned historic bridges in Maryland. The PA also encourages the use of variances and design exceptions to protect these important historic bridges from replacement, even where they do not meet current design guidelines. This PA is recommended as a model for other states seeking to effectively manage the most significant bridges under their jurisdiction.
Updated December 13, 2013