U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Programmatic Section 4(f) Evaluation and Approval for
This statement sets forth the basis for a programmatic Section 4(f) approval that there
are no feasible and prudent alternatives to the use of certain historic bridge structures to be
replaced or rehabilitated with Federal funds and that the projects include all possible planning
to minimize harm resulting from such use. This approval is made Pursuant to Section 4(f) of
the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. 303, and Section 18(a) of the
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968 23 U.S C. 138.
The historic bridges covered by this programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation are unique because
they are historic, yet also part of either a Federal-aid highway system or a State or local
highway system that has continued to evolve over the years. Even though these structures are
on or eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, they must perform as an
integral part of a modern transportation system. When they do not or cannot, they must be
rehabilitated or replaced in order to assure public safety while maintaining system continuity
and integrity. For the purpose of this programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation, a proposed action
will "use" a bridge that is on or eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places
when the action will impair the historic integrity of the bridge either by rehabilitation or
demolition. Rehabilitation that does not impair the historic integrity of the bridge as
determined by procedures implementing the national Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as
amended (FHWA), is not subject to Section 4(f).
This programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation may be applied by the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) to projects which meet the following criteria:
1. The bridge is to be replaced or rehabilitated with Federal funds.
2. The project will require the use of a historic bridge structure which is on or is eligible
for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. The bridge is not a National Historic Landmark.
4. The FHWA Division Administrator determines that the facts of the project match
those set forth in the sections of this document labeled Alternatives, Findings, and
5. Agreement among the FHWA, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has been reached through
procedures pursuant to Section 106 of the NHPA.
The following alternatives avoid any use of the historic
1. Do nothing
2. Build a new structure at a different location without affecting the historic integrity of
the old bridge, as determined by procedures implementing the NHPA.
3. Rehabilitate the historic bridge without affecting the historic integrity of the
structure, as determined by procedures implementing the NHPA.
This list is intended to be all-inclusive. The programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation does not
apply if a reasonable alternative is identified that is not discussed in this document. The
project record must clearly demonstrate that each of the above alternatives was fully
evaluated and it must further demonstrate that all applicability criteria listed above were met
before the FHWA Division Administrator concluded that the programmatic Section 4(f)
evaluation applied to the project.
In order for this programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation to be applied to a project, each of the
following findings must be supported by the circumstances, studies, and consultations on the
1. Do Nothing
The do nothing alternative has been studied. The do nothing alternative ignores the
basic transportation need. For the following reasons this alternative is not feasible and
a. Maintenance - The do nothing alternative does not correct the situation that
causes the bridge to be considered structurally deficient or deteriorated. These
deficiencies can lead to sudden collapse and potential injury or loss of life.
Normal maintenance is not considered adequate to cope with the situation.
b. Safety - The do nothing alternative does not correct the situation that causes
the bridge to be considered deficient. Because of these deficiencies the bridge
poses serious and unacceptable safety hazards to the traveling public or places
intolerable restriction on transport and travel.
2. Build on New Location Without Using the Old Bridge
Investigations have been conducted to construct a bridge on a new location or parallel
to the old bridge (allowing for a one-way couplet), but, for one or more of the
following reasons, this alternative is not feasible and prudent:
a. Terrain - The present bridge structure has already been located at the only
feasible and prudent site, i.e., a gap in the land form, the narrowest point of
the river canyon, etc. To build a new bridge at another site will result in
extraordinary bridge and approach engineering and construction difficulty or
costs or extraordinary disruption to established traffic patterns.
b. Adverse Social, Economic, or Environmental Effects - Building a new bridge
away from the present site would result in social, economic, or environmental
impact of extraordinary magnitude. Such impacts as extensive severing of
productive farmlands, displacement of a significant number of families or
businesses, serious disruption of established travel patterns, and access and
damage to wetlands may individually or cumulatively weigh heavily against
relocation to a new site.
c. Engineering and Economy - Where difficulty associated with the new location is
less extreme than those encountered above, a new site would not be feasible
and prudent where cost and engineering difficulties reach extraordinary
magnitude. Factors supporting this conclusion include significantly increased
roadway and structure costs, serious foundation problems, or extreme
difficulty in reaching the new site with construction equipment. Additional
design and safety factors to be considered include an ability to achieve
minimum design standards or to meet requirements of various permitting
agencies such as those involved with navigation, pollution, and the
d. Preservation of Old Bridge - It is not feasible and prudent to preserve the
existing bridge, even if a new bridge were to be built at a new location. This
could occur when the historic bridge is beyond rehabilitation for a
transportation or an alternative use, when no responsible party can be located
to maintain and preserve the bridge, or when a permitting authority, such as
the Coast Guard requires removal or demolition of the old bridge.
3. Rehabilitation Without Affect on the historic Integrity Rehabilitation Without Affect on
the historic Integrity of the Bridge. Studies have been conducted of Studies have been
conducted of rehabilitation measures, but, rehabilitation measures, but, for one or
more of the for one or more of the following reasons, following reasons, this
alternative is not feasible and this alternative is not feasible and prudent: prudent:
a. The bridge is so structurally deficient that it cannot be rehabilitated to meet
minimum acceptable load requirements without affecting the historic integrity
of the bridge.
b. The bridge is seriously deficient geometrically and cannot be widened to meet
the minimum required capacity of the highway system on which it is located
without affecting the historic integrity of the bridge. Flexibility in the
application of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation
Officials geometric standards should be exercised as permitted in 23 CFR Part
625 during the analysis of this alternative.
Measures to Minimize Harm
This programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation and approval may be used only for projects where
the FHWA Division Administrator, in accordance with this evaluation, ensures that the
proposed action includes all possible planning to minimize harm. This has occurred when:
1. For bridges that are to be rehabilitated, the historic integrity of the bridge is
preserved, to the greatest extent possible, consistent with unavoidable transportation
needs, safety, and load requirements;
2. For bridges that are to be rehabilitated to the point that the historic integrity is
affected or that are to be moved or demolished, the FHWA ensures that, in accordance
with the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) standards, or other suitable
means developed through consultation, fully adequate records are made of the bridge;
3. For bridges that are to be replaced, the existing bridge is made available for an
alternative use, provided a responsible party agrees to maintain and preserve the
4. For bridges that are adversely affected, agreement among the SHPO, ACHP, and
FHWA is reached through the Section 106 process of the NHPA on measures to
minimize harm and those measures are incorporated into the project. This
programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation does not apply to projects where such an
agreement cannot be reached.
This programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation applies only when the FHWA Division Administrator:
1. Determines that the project meets the applicability criteria set forth above;
2. Determines that all of the alternatives set forth in the Findings section have been fully
3. Determines that use of the findings in this document that there are no feasible and
prudent alternatives to the use of the historic bridge is clearly applicable;
4. Determines that the project complies with the Measures to Minimize Harm section of
5. Assures that implementation of the measures to minimize harm is completed; and
6. Documents the project file that the programmatic Section 4(f) evaluation applies to
the project on whit it is to be used.
Pursuant to Section 4(f), this statement has been coordinated with the Departments of the
Interior, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development.
Issued on: July 5, 1983
Approved: /Original Signed By/ Ali F. Sevin, Director Office of
Environmental Policy Federal Highway Administration
PROGRAMMATIC SECTION 4(F) EVALUATION
FOR THE USE OF HISTORIC BRIDGES
Federal Project Number________ - _________ - ________
Maryland Project Number_____________________________
Description of Project (p.____) ____________________________________________________________
Description of 4(f) Resource (p.____) _______________________________________________________
Description of Project Taking From and Effect on 4(f) Resource (p.____)
GENERAL CRITERIA YES NO
1. Is the bridge listed on or eligible for inclusion on the National Register
of Historic Places?
2. Is the bridge a National Historic Landmark?
3. Has the SHPO and ACHP agreed, in writing, with the assessment of
impacts and the proposed mitigation?
4. Does the project require the preparation of an EIS?
Indicate where appropriate supporting information is found in the document
1. The do nothing alternative has been evaluated and is considered not to be
feasible and prudent because it does not correct structural deficiencies or
unacceptable safety hazards (p._____).
2. An alternative on new location avoiding the historic bridge has been
evaluated and is considered not to be feasible and prudent (p.____).
3. An alternative has been evaluated which rehabilitates the historic bridge
without affecting the historic integrity of the structures and it is
considered not to be feasible and prudent because of serious structural
deficiencies, or unacceptable geometric deficiencies (p.____).
MINIMIZATION OF HARM
The project includes all possible planning to minimize harm, including
(circle below those that apply) (p.____):
1. For bridges that are to be rehabilitated, the historic integrity of the
bridge is to be preserved.
2. For bridges that are to be rehabilitated to the point that historic integrity
is affected or that are to be moved or demolished, the bridges will be
recorded in accordance with the Historic American Engineering Record
(HAER) prior to any work.
3. For bridges to be replaced, the existing bridge has been made available
for an alternative use with the responsible party agreeing to maintain and
preserve the bridge.
4. For bridges that are adversely affected, an agreement has been reached
between the SHPO, ACHP, and the FHWA on the measures to minimize
1. The proposed project has been coordinated with the following:
a. SHPO (p.______)
b. ACHP (p.______)
c. Local historic groups (p.______)
NOTE: Any response in a box requires additional information prior to approval. Consult Nationwide
The attached document satisfies the criteria of the Nationwide Section 4(f) Evaluation and Approval for
Federally Aided Highway Projects that Necessitate the Use of Historic Bridges, dated July 5, 1983.
(Federal Register, Vol. 48, No. 163, August 22, 1983, pp. 38139-40)
Area Engineer/Environmental Specialist
Environmental Program Manager, MD Division