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Home arrow ACHP Invites Public to Comment on Providence Viaduct Bridge Project
ACHP Invites Public to Comment on Providence Viaduct Bridge Project

The public comment period has been extended by FHWA. The ACHP continues to seek comments from stakeholders and the public regarding the termination of the consultation process for the Providence Viaduct Bridge Programmatic Agreement (PA). Comments are due by April 20, 2017. More information is below.

The project encompasses the reconstruction of two bridges along the I-95 corridor in downtown Providence, RI. The bridges span lands that contain sites significant to the Narragansett Indian tribe.

Early on in the process, the lead federal agency on the project, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), determined, in tandem with other consulting parties, that an archaeological data recovery program to mitigate the effects of the project on the sites significant to the tribe was not feasible due to environmental, logistical, and cost factors. Thus, the parties negotiated a mitigation plan that called for the lead state agency on the project, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), to purchase offsite properties that were significant to the tribe. These plans and other measures were included within a Programmatic Agreement designed to resolve adverse effects to historic properties that was executed on October 3, 2011, and later amended on January 24, 2014.

RIDOT purchased multiple sites and prepared deeds and covenants to transfer them to the tribe. These agreements included provisions requiring the tribe to waive its sovereign immunity as part of the transfer. The tribe refused to waive its immunity, and RIDOT also refused to reconsider this request.

Unable to resolve this impasse over the past three years, FHWA initiated the termination of the PA on January 19, 2017. After providing appropriate documentation regarding the matter to the ACHP, the agreement was formally terminated on February 15, 2017.

In accordance with the Section 106 regulations, the ACHP must provide formal written comments to the Secretary of Transportation. Once the Secretary considers the ACHP’s comments and responds to them, the FHWA will have concluded the Section 106 process.

Interested parties may submit to the ACHP written comments regarding the undertaking’s effects to historic properties and any measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse effects to those properties via mail, facsimile, or e-mail (see below). Please note that the purpose of the Section 106 review is to address exclusively the historic preservation aspects and not other environmental issues.

Send e-mails to:        cwilson@achp.gov
Fax information to:     202-517-6381
Mail comments to: Mr. Christopher Wilson
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
401 F Street, NW, Suite 308,
Washington, DC 20001-2637

The ACHP welcomes written comments from any party. Written comments may be sent to the above e-mail address, fax number, or mailing address. The deadline for such comments is 5 p.m. (Eastern Time), April 20, 2017. Comments sent on or before that deadline will be part of the public record and reviewed by the ACHP prior to the finalization and transmittal of its formal comments.

Should you have any questions or want to discuss this matter further, please contact Christopher Wilson of the ACHP at (202) 517-0229 or via email at cwilson@achp.gov

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