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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Winter 2003 arrow California: Replacement of Doyle Drive, San Francisco
California: Replacement of Doyle Drive at the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Agencies: Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust

Constructed with the Golden Gate Bridge in 1933, Doyle Drive serves as the southern approach to the world-famous structure. The National Register-eligible road currently does not meet modern safety standards and capacity needs, and the City of San Francisco has proposed its replacement.

A wider road—and the attendant construction to make one—are raising concerns about the proposed project’s effects on surrounding cultural and natural resources. The project illustrates the challenges of upgrading a historic roadway when the road itself contributes to a surrounding historic district, and the often competing interests of protecting and preserving significant natural and historic properties.

The City of San Francisco, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the California Department of Transportation, proposes to replace Doyle Drive, a six-lane, 1.5-mile elevated concrete and steel viaduct built in 1933 as part of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Doyle Drive, Presidio of San Francisco NHL District, California

 

 

A section of Doyle Drive in the Presidio of San Francisco National Historic Landmark District, CA (staff photo)

 

The historic road is eligible for listing in the National Register, and contributes to the surrounding Presidio of San Francisco National Historic Landmark District. The road, however, is in need of several safety upgrades such as a fixed median barrier, shoulders, and adequate lane widths.

The viaduct structure is also deteriorating from heavy traffic and exposure to salt air. Although a partial seismic retrofit of the structure was recently completed, serious concerns still exist regarding the potential failure of the structure during an earthquake.

The plan to widen the road is constrained by topography and numerous cultural and natural resources around the road, including a National Cemetery, several World War II batteries, scarce World War I warehouses, and sensitive wetlands.

Many of the groups who are serving as consulting parties in the Section 106 review process for this case are urging FHWA to refine its proposed project alternatives so that more historic properties will be avoided.

The groups are also concerned that the temporary detour structures that might be built while Doyle Drive is under construction will affect historic properties, such as destroying some of the World War II batteries.

The consulting parties are currently providing comments on a “Finding of Effect” report, and FHWA is scheduled to produce an Environmental Impact Statement on the project in spring 2003.

Staff contact: Jane Crisler

Posted May 6, 2003

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