Interstate is exempt from historic preservation reviews

News AASHTO Journal March 01, 2005
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The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) voted to approve the final exemption of the Interstate Highway System from

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) voted to approve the final exemption of the Interstate Highway System from Section 106 reviews under the National Historic Preservation Act.


With the Dwight D. Eisenhower Defense and Interstate Highway System approaching its 50th anniversary, last year efforts were initiated to address the application of historic review requirements to the system. The ACHP, working with the Federal Highway Administration, proposed a programmatic agreement which would have treated the interstate system as a whole as a historic resource. This approach was met with concerns by the states that such designation would interfere with improvements to the interstate system.


The ACHP and FHWA, working with other industry associations, devised an alternative approach which would exempt interstate highway projects from the Section 106 reviews, with some exceptions. Under the agreement, the FHWA is to publish by June 2006 a list of any individual elements of the interstate that are excluded from the exemption.


The ACHP, which has oversight over all federal projects which may impact properties of historic significance, published the proposal for comment in the Dec. 29, 2004, Federal Register. No significant objections were voiced.


The ACHP does not have jurisdiction over historic preservation regulations under Section 4(f) of the U.S. DOT act. Therefore, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is continuing to work for a legislative exemption of section 4(f) reviews in the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Section 4(f) applies to federal-aid highway projects involving historic properties, park lands and recreational facilities.


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