Section 106 Process
The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Project is subject to Section 106 of the NHPA (as amended) and associated implementing regulations in 36 C.F.R. 800. As lead federal agency under Section 106, FRA is authorizing the project sponsors, as applicants for federal approvals, to prepare information, analyses, and recommendations regarding Section 106 consultation. Section 106 mandates that federal agencies consider the effects of their actions on any properties listed on or determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NR) and afford the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) a reasonable opportunity to comment on such undertakings.
Status of Section 106
As part of the cultural resources analyses undertaken for the project to date in compliance with Section 106, the project team delineated an Area of Potential Effect (APE) in consultation with the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), which serves as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and other consulting parties. In addition, historic properties (also known as cultural resources), which include both historic architectural resources and archaeological resources, are being identified in the APE.
The project team inventoried known architectural resources, including National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) and properties listed on or previously determined eligible for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places (S/NR) within the project’s APE. In addition, a reconnaissance-level survey has been undertaken by qualified architectural historians to identify any properties within the APE that meet the S/NR Criteria but had not been previously evaluated for the S/NR.
Eleven previously designated architectural resources were identified in the APE, including S/NR-listed and eligible properties. No NHLs are located within the APE. The reconnaissance-level survey identified an additional three potential architectural resources within the APE that had not been previously evaluated; MHT concurred that all three of these are eligible for listing on the S/NR. The survey also documented an additional 73 properties that met the S/NR age criterion, but did not appear eligible for the S/NR. MHT concurred that all 73 of these properties were not S/NR-eligible.
In order to assess the sensitivity of the archaeological APE, the project team prepared an Archaeological Documentary Study (Phase IA Study), which used documentary sources to identify areas with potential to contain archaeological deposits relating to prehistoric or historic-period activities. For each area where prehistoric or historic-period activities may have yielded archaeological deposits, the project team evaluated construction activities and other recent ground disturbances to identify locations where any archaeological resources, if originally present, may have survived. The Phase IA Report assessed the proposed project’s potential to affect archaeologically sensitive areas and provided recommendations for further archaeological testing to determine the presence or absence of significant archaeological resources that could be affected by the proposed project.
The project team has evaluated the potential for the proposed project to affect historic architectural resources, including consideration of measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects. The resulting Effects Assessment for Historic Architectural Resources report (see link below) has been submitted to the MHT and consulting parties for their review and comment. As part of the ongoing environmental review, consultation with the MHT, consulting parties, and the general public will continue.