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Section 4f


Avoidance and Minimization
Related Statutes
Legal Overview
Project Examples

Individual Evaluations
Programmatic Evaluations

This portion of the document will acquaint you with individual and programmatic evaluations and the differences between the two. When you have finished, you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • the required procedures for completing individual evaluations, both the draft and final copies
  • the required procedures for completing programmatic evaluations
  • the concept of minor use and its relationship to programmatic evaluations
  • the importance of coordination and consultation with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other interested agencies
  • the importance of creating legally sufficient documentation of Section 
    4(f) resources, their use, and any avoidance and minimization efforts

In addition, you will have an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the four nationwide programmatic evaluations that have been approved by the DOT.

Note: If you have a project with minor impacts, be sure to check and see if it qualifies for a programmatic evaluation.

Whenever a project uses a Section 4(f) resource, a written evaluation must be prepared for submission to the DOT. There are two types of evaluationsan individual evaluation (otherwise known simply as an evaluation) and a programmatic evaluation. An individual evaluation may be submitted either as an independent document (for categorical exclusions) or as a section of an EIS or an EA/FONSI.

A programmatic evaluation may be submitted only as an independent document and may be used only for projects that have a minor impact on one or more Section 4(f) resources. Both types of evaluation describe the Section 4(f) resource, the avoidance and minimization alternatives, the impacts associated with the alternatives, and coordination with the official with jurisdiction.

As noted in the introduction to Legal Overview, Section 4(f) has been the most litigated statute in the Federal Highway Program. With this in mind, it is not difficult to understand why comprehensive evaluations are critical to documenting the legal sufficiency required for the use of a Section 4(f) resource. Because this documentation is so important, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) requires a legal sufficiency review of all final Section
4(f) evaluations, plus concurrence by FHWA's Chief Counsel Office.


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