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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
Nebraska: Construction of South and East Beltway, Lincoln
Criteria for ACHP Involvement:
- Concerns have been raised regarding indirect effects the project might have on historic properties, including many in the Stevens Creek Valley (Criteria 2 and 3).
- There is considerable public interest and debate over the proposed plan (Criterion 3).
In December 2001, ACHP received a response from the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) to its request that FHWA seek a formal determination
from the National Register of Historic Places regarding the boundaries
of seven historic farmsteads that may be affected by the construction
of the proposed beltway around Lincoln, Nebraska. FHWA indicated that
it intends to choose a route for the project that would not directly cut
through the farmsteads, and that contacting the National Register was
ACHP responded to FHWA in January 2002, questioning the prudence
of FHWA committing to a particular alternative prior to the issuance of
a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision pursuant
to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Moreover, because FHWA
did not respond to earlier comments regarding potential cumulative effects
to historic properties that may result from the proposed beltway, ACHP again requested FHWA to address this issue by providing information
on the projects Area of Potential Effects.
Because of the close proximity of the proposed alternatives to one another
and to the farmsteads, ACHP believes all of the alternatives for
the proposed project possess the potential to affect the seven historic
farmsteads. Thus, ACHP reiterated its view that seeking a final
determination from the National Register is the most efficient way to
move the Section 106 consultation forward.
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 State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), City of Lincoln,
National Trust for Historic Preservation (Trust), and the local groups
Preservation Association of Lincoln and Citizens for Accountable Route
In March 2001, FHWA published a draft EIS that includes several alternatives
for the proposed south and east routes, a discussion of the historic properties
that may be affected, 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 and their potential impact on the Stevens
Creek Valley, prime agricultural land containing farmsteads that document
150 years of rural history.
In addition to direct adverse effects that could occur, 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 NEPA
and the National Historic Preservation Act.
In June 2001, the Trust notified ACHP that it disagrees with the
boundaries proposed for seven historic farmsteads found eligible for listing
in the National Register that may be affected by construction of the proposed
beltway. FHWA and the Nebraska SHPO have agreed upon more restrictive
boundaries than those favored by the Trust, which 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 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 August 2001, ACHP forwarded such a request to FHWA.
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 such an 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 contribute to such foreseeable impacts.
Staff contact: Jane
May 6, 2003
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