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with Section 106 Section
106 in Action Archive
of Prominent Section 106 Cases Nebraska: Construction of South
and East Beltway, Lincoln
Construction of South and East Beltway, Lincoln
Agency: Federal Highway
Criteria for ACHP Involvement:
- This project may affect large numbers of historic properties, including
many in the Stevens Creek valley (Criterion 1).
- There is considerable public interest and debate over the proposed
plan (Criterion 3).
In June 2001, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (Trust) notified
ACHP that it disagrees with the boundaries proposed for seven historic
farmsteads found eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic
Places that may be affected by construction of the proposed beltway around
Lincoln, Nebraska. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Nebraska
State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) have agreed upon more restrictive
boundaries than favored by the Trust, which has included the historic
properties in the Stevens Creek valley on its 2001 list of Americas
11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
The Trust requested ACHP to ask FHWA to seek a formal determination
of eligibility from the Keeper of the National Register for the Herters-Hagaman
Farm, Forest Brook Farm, Penterman Farm, Michael Smith Farmyard, Haeger
Dairy, Alan and Shirley Retzlaff Farm, and the Stevens Creek Stock Farm.
In accordance with Section 800.4(c)(2) of ACHP regulations, FHWA
is required to seek such a determination upon a request by ACHP.
Following the Trusts request, ACHP consulted further with
the Trust, FHWA, and the Nebraska SHPO to determine if the dispute could
be resolved without FHWA going to the Keeper. After the parties were unable
to reach consensus, ACHP determined that a formal determination
from the Keeper was the most expedient method of resolving the disagreement.
In August 2001, ACHP requested FHWA to seek a final determination
of eligibility for the seven ranches.
The City of Lincoln, Nebraska, proposes to build a four-lane beltway
around the south and east sides of the city, thus completing a transportation
loop road network around Lincoln. The proposed project will utilize funds
from FHWA. (For more information on the project, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/nediv/sebelt.htm.)
ACHP first became aware of the proposed beltway in 1998. Since
that time, consultation for this project has proceeded among many parties,
including the Nebraska SHPO, City of Lincoln, the Trust, and the local
group Citizens for a Responsible Route Selection.
In March 2001, FHWA published a draft Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) that includes several alternatives for the proposed south and east
routes, a discussion of the historic properties that may be affected by
these routes, and an assessment of effects that may result from the proposed
beltway. A preferred alternative was not identified in the draft EIS.
Contentious discussions have taken place over the three alternatives
proposed for the east route, known as East Close-1 (EC-1), East Mid-1
(EM-1), and East Far-1 (EF-1), with EC-1 being the closest route to downtown.
EF-1 appears to be the route that would directly affect the most historic
properties. This route would cut through the Stevens Creek valley, prime
agricultural land containing farmsteads that document a continuum of 150
years of rural history.
In addition to direct adverse effects that would occur if EF-1 was implemented,
future development as a consequence of the new road could have serious
impacts to historic properties. ACHP has disagreed with statements
in the draft EIS that adverse effects to historic properties brought on
by increased development do not need to be considered because the City
of Lincoln has developed a comprehensive plan for managing future growth.
Although the comprehensive plan may serve to help mitigate the effects
of associated growth, ACHP believes that such effects need to be
considered under both the National Environmental Policy Act and the National
Historic Preservation Act.
ACHPs regulations recognize that a projects adverse
effects include any that are reasonably foreseeable, even if they may
occur later in time, are farther removed in distance, or are cumulative.
The potential for sprawl development in the wake of new road
construction is a classic example. While ultimately such development can
only be effectively controlled at the local level, it is important that
Federal decisionmakers consider the potential for Federal projects to
entail such foreseeable impacts.
Staff contact: Jane
June 6, 2002
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