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HomePA Route 23 EIS

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Historic and Archaeological Resources <BACK


Pennsylvania possesses an extremely rich heritage that includes contributions from diverse cultural groups who have seeded the Commonwealth, especially Lancaster County, with ideas, traditions, values, art, and architecture. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT) recognizes the importance of Pennsylvania's past and is committed to acknowledging our cultural heritage and preserving it for future generations.

As part of the PA 23 EIS Project, PENNDOT is conducting historic and archaeological studies to identify and evaluate standing historic buildings and structures and archaeological sites within the project area. The studies are a part of the project's compliance with state and federal laws that require PENNDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to consider the project's effects on historic properties that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is a federally maintained list of properties associated with significant people, events, and developments in local, state and national history. The studies will assess the impacts of the PA Route 23 EIS project on historic properties and archaeological sites and make recommendations for the minimization or treatment of adverse effects.

Historic and archaeological studies will be conducted to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (see below for more information concerning this law). The Section 106 review process applies to an "undertaking" or project that requires federal funding or a federal permit. As the lead federal agency for the PA 23 EIS project, FHWA must take into account the effects of their project on historic properties and provide an opportunity for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to comment.

There are four fundamental steps in the Section 106 review process:

  • The first step is to initiate the process. This includes establishing whether the project, activity, or program is indeed an undertaking. This step also includes identifying the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and, if appropriate, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO). Further the federal agency (or its designee) develops a plan to involve the public and identify other consulting parties.
  • If an undertaking might affect historic properties, then the agency and/or its designee move to the second step: identify historic properties. This includes determining the scope of efforts, identifying historic properties, and evaluating historic significance.

  • If it is decided that historic properties may be affected by the undertaking, the agency and/or its designee moves to the third step: assess potential adverse effects on the historic properties.

  • Finally, if it is determined that a historic property will be adversely affected, then the agency moves to resolve adverse effects. This might include incorporating design shifts and modifications to avoid or minimize effects, or recommending measures to mitigate adverse effects.

Background Research, Field Studies and Evaluation

Historical research will be conducted at state, county and local repositories to gather information on the history and evolution of PA 23 and its vicinity for the development of a historic context. This research will include examination of primary and secondary sources such as historic maps and atlases, population, agricultural, industrial and social census data, tax and deed records, historic photographs, and state, county and local histories. The results of this research will be summarized and developed into a Historic Context Report. The historic context provides information on the types of properties that could be found in the area and identifies expected levels of integrity for these properties to assist with evaluation of historic properties' eligibility for listing in the National Register.

For the PA 23 EIS project, field studies will include a reconnaissance survey to gather broad information about historic and archaeological resources located within the project area. The location of resources will be plotted on project maps and information regarding physical features will be recorded.

A detailed survey of historic structures and buildings potentially affected by the alternatives will be conducted and resources will be documented on Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey Forms. Intensive research and deed searches may be undertaken for properties that appear to be eligible for listing in the National Register.

For prehistoric and historic archaeological resources, KCI will develop a predictive model for use in comparing effects among the alternatives studied in the EIS. The predictive model also will provide a strategy for the efficient identification of archaeological sites within the preferred alternative.


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