[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 222 (Friday, November 16, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68790-68795]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27866]


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ADVISORY COUNCIL ON HISTORIC PRESERVATION


Program Comment Issued for Streamlining Section 106 Review for 
Actions Affecting Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges

AGENCY: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

ACTION: Program Comment issued for streamlining Section 106 review for 
undertakings affecting post-1945 concrete and steel bridges.

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SUMMARY: The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a

[[Page 68791]]

Program Comment at the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation 
Federal Highway Administration to relieve it and other federal agencies 
from the requirement under Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act to consider the effects of undertakings on common 
bridges and culverts constructed of concrete or steel after 1945. The 
federal agencies using the Program Comment must still complete Section 
106 review for the undertaking, including the identification of 
historic properties and consideration of effects of the undertaking on 
historic properties other than the common bridge itself.

DATES: The Program Comment was issued by the ACHP on November 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Address all questions concerning the Program Comment to 
Carol Legard, Office of Federal Agency Programs, Advisory Council on 
Historic Preservation, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Suite 803, 
Washington, DC 20004. Fax (202) 606-8522. You may submit electronic 
questions to: clegard@achp.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carol Legard, (202) 606-8522, 
clegard@achp.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (Section 106) requires federal agencies to consider 
the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and to provide 
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) a reasonable 
opportunity to comment with regard to such undertakings. The ACHP has 
issued the regulations that set forth the process through which Federal 
agencies comply with these duties. Those regulations are codified under 
36 CFR part 800 (Section 106 regulations).
    Under Section 800.14(e) of those regulations, agencies can request 
the ACHP to issue a ``Program Comment'' on a particular category of 
undertakings in lieu of conducting reviews of each individual 
undertaking under such category, as set forth in 36 CFR 800.3 through 
800.7. An agency can meet its Section 106 responsibilities with regard 
to the effects of particular aspects of those undertakings by taking 
into account an applicable Program Comment that has been issued by the 
ACHP and following the steps set forth in that comment.

I. Background

    The ACHP has issued a Program Comment to relieve all federal 
agencies from the Section 106 requirement to consider the effects of 
undertakings on common bridges and culverts constructed of concrete or 
steel after 1945. The ACHP membership voted in favor of issuing the 
Program Comment via an unassembled vote that concluded on November 2, 
2012.
    According to the requirements for obtaining a Program Comment, the 
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) formally requested the ACHP to 
comment on the effects of a category of undertakings in lieu of 
conducting individual reviews for effects to certain types of bridges 
commonly constructed in the United States since 1945. Bridges of the 
types covered in the Program Comment were constructed in vast numbers 
from plans that quickly became standardized around the middle of the 
20th century. These bridges are generally undistinguished from an 
engineering or architectural perspective, are considered to have little 
value for preservation in place, and are rarely viable candidates for 
relocation. However, because they may meet or approach the age criteria 
for evaluation as historic properties, considerable time and resources 
are currently expended to address effects to them on a case-by-case 
basis under the Section 106 process. The Program Comment applies to 
effects of undertakings on certain common concrete and steel bridges 
lacking distinction, not previously listed in or determined eligible 
for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, and not 
located within or adjacent to historic districts. The Program Comment 
proposed by FHWA was received by the ACHP on August 6, 2012.
    To develop the Program Comment, FHWA met with individuals from the 
ACHP staff, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation 
Officers, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With the 
assistance of these individuals, FHWA prepared an initial draft of the 
proposed Program Comment which was then shared with key stakeholders 
and additional organizations and individuals with expertise in historic 
bridges and in the Section 106 review process. This outreach effort 
resulted in a number of revisions intended to address concerns raised 
about the applicability of the Program Comment, the ability of states 
to identify examples of common bridges that should be excluded from the 
Program Comment, and the types and range of bridges that would be 
exempted from Section 106 review. FHWA worked with the ACHP in 
developing the new draft, which was discussed at the ACHP Federal 
Agency Program Committee meeting on August 8, 2012.
    Upon submitting its formal request to the ACHP, FHWA took 
additional steps to inform the public and stakeholders about the 
proposed Program Comment, including an email distribution, posting on 
the agency web site, and a notice published in the Federal Register on 
September 5, 2012 (Federal Register Volume 77, Number 172, pages 54652-
54655). In response, the Federal Highway Administration received 
comments from 14 individuals and organizations.
    In accordance with our regulations at 36 CFR 800.14(e), the ACHP is 
responsible for obtaining the views of State Historic Preservation 
Officers (SHPOs) and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers before 
reaching a decision on issuing a Program Comment. Although the Program 
Comment was drafted so that it does not apply to tribal lands, the ACHP 
transmitted the proposed Program Comment to Indian tribes and Tribal 
Historic Preservation Officers to ensure that their views were 
considered in its decision on whether to issue the program comment. The 
ACHP requested comments on the Program Comment, as submitted by FHWA, 
on September 7, 2012.
    As a result of both FHWA's Federal Register notice and the ACHP's 
solicitation of views from SHPOs and Tribal Historic Preservation 
Officers, comments were received from six SHPOs, one Indian tribe, one 
Native Hawaiian Organization, and 12 other individuals and 
organizations.
    The proposed Program Comment received strong support from the 
American Public Works Association (APWA), National Association of 
County Engineers (NACE), American Road and Transportation Builders 
Association (ARTBA), the Commissioner of Highways for the Commonwealth 
of Virginia, the New York State County Highway Superintendents 
Association (NYSCHSA), and the County of Los Angeles Department of 
Public Works. Comments from these organizations stressed that the 
Program Comment is a logical, common sense approach that will save 
taxpayers money and allow needed infrastructure improvements to be 
completed more efficiently. The President of the NYSCHSA stated that by 
excluding these common bridges from Section 106 review, taxpayers could 
save up to $78 million over a 10-year period.
    Four respondents to the Federal Register notice objected to the 
premise that post-1945 concrete and steel highway bridges are generally 
undistinguished, having little value for

[[Page 68792]]

preservation in place. One also took exception to statements in the 
introduction and background sections of the Program Comment that, in 
her view, indicated a lack of understanding of the significance and 
rehabilitation potential for post-1945 common bridges. These four 
reviewers, and four SHPOs, further disagreed with FHWA that examples of 
common bridge types of exceptional significance can be readily 
identified without a statewide inventory by knowledgeable professional 
cultural resource specialists. The reviewers, two of which are historic 
bridge experts working as consultants, argued that streamlining Section 
106 review for bridges, even those built after 1945, is best 
accomplished by completing a statewide historic bridge inventory and 
individual determinations of historic significance based on a statewide 
historic context and generally accepted scholarship.
    Two commenters expressed confusion about how the identification of 
exceptional bridges can be completed by December 31, 2012, particularly 
where the main source of data is the National Bridge Inventory (NBI). 
Distrust for the accuracy of information in the NBI and the fact that a 
number of states lack recent historic bridge inventories were the 
reasons these parties were concerned about the ability of the FHWA 
Division in each state to identify especially important examples of the 
common bridge types within the tight timeframe provided in the review 
draft.
    In response to these concerns, the Program Comment was revised to 
extend the timeframe for completing the list of exceptional bridges to 
March 31, 2013. It also encourages, but does not require, FHWA 
Divisions to complete the list by that date. If additional time is 
needed to complete the list, it will be granted. Also, FHWA Divisions 
may add to the list of exceptional bridges, as more information becomes 
available regarding the historic bridges in a state. The Program 
Comment also now clarifies that to complete the list of exceptional 
bridges, a statewide survey or context does not need to be developed 
where none exists. The list need not be exhaustive; the intent behind 
the list is to be able to exclude readily recognizable exceptional 
bridges from the Program Comment. Although the commenters are correct 
that this may not be sufficient in some states to identify all 
exceptionally significant bridges, we believe that the Program Comment 
establishes a good balance between protecting the most significant 
historic bridges of these common types and eliminating repetitive and 
redundant documentation and reviews that can be costly to the 
government and have limited value to the broader public.
    One Federally Recognized Indian tribe and one Native Hawaiian 
Organization commented on the Program Comment. Both expressed concern 
that the Program Comment may be seen as a broad waiver of Section 106 
review for projects affecting historic bridges, leading to the 
destruction of other types of sites as a result of construction. To 
address this concern, the Introduction (Section I) and Section III 
(Applicability) were revised to explicitly and clearly state that while 
the Program Comment relieves Federal agencies from the Section 106 
requirement to consider the effects of undertakings on the bridge types 
identified in Section V, it is not a waiver from Section 106 
requirements for the consideration of other historic properties that 
may be affected by a bridge rehabilitation or replacement project. It 
further clarifies that the Program Comment is not a waiver from 
applicable Federal requirements to consult with Indian tribes or Native 
Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) regarding undertakings that may affect 
historic properties to which a tribe or NHO ascribe traditional 
cultural and religious significance.
    Three commenters proposed changes to the common bridge types 
covered by the Program Comment (Section V). One proposed that pre-
stressed concrete should be included as a discrete bridge type and that 
all pre-stressed concrete bridges built prior to 1966 be excluded from 
the Program Comment. The ACHP declined to make this change as it would 
be inconsistent with the other bridge types in Section V, which are 
based on structure type (design) and material, and not just the 
material with which it is constructed. Other recommendations were 
incorporated into the final Program Comment including: Removing 
reinforced concrete rigid frames, metal rigid frames, and curved metal 
girders from the list of common types (they are, in fact, not as common 
as the other types); and adding culverts and reinforced concrete boxes 
among the common bridge types covered by the Program Comment.
    Two commenters offered recommendations for improving the 
programmatic mitigation in Section VI. One recommended including 
specifics regarding the manner in which the FHWA will encourage the 
update of inventories. The other offered additional suggestions for 
mitigation. One additional mitigation measure was incorporated into the 
Program Comment based on these recommendations. Section VI now requires 
FHWA to complete and make available to the public a brief illustrated 
history of post-1945 highway bridge engineering and design to document 
for the general public the innovations and contributions of the bridges 
to transportation in the post-World War II era. FHWA is required to 
complete this illustrated history and documentation using Historic 
American Engineering Record (HAER) standards of at least one example of 
each common bridge type before December 31, 2013. A third programmatic 
mitigation measure was left unchanged: A commitment for FHWA to 
encourage State transportation agencies that have not recently done so 
to update inventories of historic bridges in their states. The ACHP 
agrees with commenters that updating and maintaining statewide historic 
bridge inventories and management plans for historic bridges is the 
best way to plan for the protection and preservation of the State's 
most significant bridges. However, requiring State transportation 
agencies to complete these inventories would place an unfair burden on 
states without the resources to do these studies, and we do not agree 
that such inventories are necessary to identify exceptional examples in 
a state, provided the state DOT and Federal Highway Administration 
consults with the SHPO and others in developing the list of exceptional 
bridges, as required.
    The ACHP received comments on the FHWA proposed Program Comment 
from six SHPOs: Delaware, Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, 
and Wisconsin. Wisconsin and Nevada SHPOs support the Program Comment 
and offered minor suggestions for improving Section IV (Considerations) 
which were incorporated into the final document.
    Four SHPO representatives expressed objections or strong 
reservations to the approach because of concerns that important post-
1945 concrete and steel bridges would remain unidentified and 
unprotected in the absence of a comprehensive statewide historic bridge 
survey. As with some of the commenters on the Federal Register notice 
(summarized above), these SHPO reviewers equated the elimination of 
individual review requirements for common bridge types with a lack of 
historic significance. The ACHP has revised the Program Comment to 
clarify that the intent is to streamline Section 106 review by 
replacing individual documentation and treatment of the common bridge 
types in Section V with the programmatic mitigation in Section VI. The 
purpose of the considerations in

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Section IV of the Program Comment is not to identify and protect all 
significant bridges, but to provide the Federal Highway Administration 
in each State an opportunity to identify and exclude from the Program 
Comment: (1) Bridges that have already been listed or determined 
eligible for listing in the National Register, and (2) common post-1945 
concrete and steel bridges that are known to have exceptional 
significance. Although a statewide inventory to identify exceptional 
bridges is not a requirement for agencies wishing to apply the Program 
Comment to undertakings affecting post-1945 bridges in a state, FHWA 
will encourage states to update inventories of historic bridges to 
better ensure that bridges meeting the considerations in Section IV are 
identified and considered early in the Section 106 review process.
    The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers 
(NCSHPO) worked closely with FHWA to develop the Program Comment, and 
has expressed strong support for it.
    Finally, Federal agencies may only use the Program Comment in 
states where the relevant FHWA Division has completed and filed a list 
of exceptional common bridges with the FHWA Federal Preservation 
Officer (FPO) in accordance with Section IV. While the ACHP does not 
intend to limit the usefulness of the Program Comment to federal 
agencies wishing to use it, we note that the effectiveness of the 
Program Comment hinges on the FHWA Divisions in each state taking the 
step to identify bridges that should be exempted from the Program 
Comment. We encourage Federal agencies other than FHWA wishing to use 
the Program Comment to contact the relevant FHWA Division office or the 
State Historic Preservation Office to find out the status of its 
efforts to complete the list required in Section IV. The FHWA FPO has 
agreed to post on FHWA's Web site (http://www.environment.fhwa.dot.gov/histpres/index.asp) information about the lists once they are 
submitted. Other agencies may check with the FHWA FPO or check the Web 
site to determine if a list of exceptional bridges has been completed 
by a state Division of FHWA. FHWA is committed to working with states 
and FHWA Divisions to ensure that the requirements of the Program 
Comment are communicated through the publication of guidance, FHWA's 
Web site, and coordination by Headquarters and the FPO.

II. Final Text of the Program Comment

    The following is the text of the proposed Program Comment:

Program Comment for Common Post-1945 Concrete and Steel Bridges

I. Introduction

    Every year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funds the 
rehabilitation and replacement of hundreds of bridges under the 
Federal-aid program administered across the U.S. by State 
departments of transportation (DOT) and the Federal Lands Highway 
program. Other Federal agencies are also involved with projects 
affecting bridges through Federal assistance, approvals, or permits. 
Many of the bridges affected by these programs are of common types 
constructed by State transportation agencies after 1945, using 
reinforced concrete or steel beams and designs that quickly became 
standardized. These common bridge types are generally 
undistinguished, and although some of them may be eligible for 
inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, when repair 
or replacement is needed, they are rarely viable candidates for 
either preservation in place or relocation. Yet, every federally 
funded or permitted undertaking affecting such a bridge requires 
review and consultation pursuant to Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), 16 U.S.C. 470f to assess 
whether the bridge is eligible for inclusion in the National 
Register and, if so, to resolve adverse effects to it. The 
regulations implementing Section 106, codified at 36 CFR part 800, 
describe the procedures Federal agencies must follow to meet this 
obligation.
    Alternate compliance methods, provided by the Section 106 
regulations, allow agencies to meet these Section 106 obligations 
but tailor the process to their mission and needs. Section 800.14(e) 
of the regulations provides that any agency may request a ``Program 
Comment'' from the ACHP in lieu of case-by-case review. The benefit 
of a Program Comment is that it allows a federal agency to comply 
with Section 106 in a single action for a class of undertakings 
rather than addressing each undertaking as a separate action. At 
FHWA's request, the ACHP has issued the following Program Comment in 
accordance with 36 CFR Sec.  800.14(e) in order to waive, with 
limited exceptions, case-by-case Section 106 consideration of 
effects on common post-1945 bridges. This Program Comment is 
available for use by all federal agencies and State officials 
delegated the responsibility to comply with Section 106 for the 
particular undertakings by statute or a program alternative under 36 
CFR Sec.  800.14 (federal agencies). It relieves federal agencies 
from the need, under Section 106, to individually consider the 
effects of undertakings on the bridges described in Section V of 
this Program Comment, with the exceptions noted in Section IV.
    It is important to note that this Program Comment is not a 
waiver from Section 106 review for undertakings that may affect 
common bridges or other historic properties as described in Section 
V. Neither is it a waiver from applicable federal requirements to 
consult with Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations (NHO) 
regarding undertakings that may affect historic properties to which 
a tribe or NHO ascribes traditional cultural and religious 
significance. Federal agency officials must still complete Section 
106 review and consider effects of the undertaking on historic 
properties other than the common bridge itself. Such effects to 
other historic properties may be direct or indirect, and must be 
considered by the federal agency official whether or not the Program 
Comment is applicable to the subject bridge.

II. Background

    In October 2005, the National Cooperative Highway Research 
Program published ``A Context for Common Historic Bridge Types.'' 
That context revealed that a great many of the bridge structures 
built after 1935, and especially since 1946, are strictly 
utilitarian and lacking in distinctive engineering or architectural 
qualities. Increasing standardization associated with highway design 
as a result of growing federal funding and the evolving standards of 
the American Association of State Highway and Transportation 
Officials (AASHTO) both contributed to the uniformity of design in 
bridges of certain types.
    Information about America's bridges, including their age and 
condition, is readily available in FHWA's National Bridge Inventory 
(NBI). The NBI is a collection of information (database) covering 
just under 600,000 of the nation's bridges located on public roads, 
including Interstate Highways, U.S. highways, State and county 
roads, as well as publicly accessible bridges on federal lands. It 
presents a State by State summary analysis of the number, location, 
and general condition of highway bridges within each State. This 
database contains technical and engineering information about 
hundreds of thousands of bridges in the United States, including 
year built, bridge type, condition and many other fields. Some 
45,000 bridges in the NBI are rated as structurally deficient, 
meaning that portions of the bridge may be in poor condition. 
Approximately 61,680 are identified as functionally obsolete, 
meaning that the design of the bridge does not meet current 
guidelines for its use, such as lack of safety shoulders or the 
inability to handle certain traffic volume, speed, size, or weight. 
Bridges in these categories are frequent candidates for replacement. 
This Program Comment is intended to eliminate the administrative 
burden of considering the effects of replacement on these bridges on 
a case-by-case basis and make delivery of these critical projects 
more efficient in recognition of the very limited preservation value 
of the vast majority of common post-1945 bridges.

III. Applicability

    This Program Comment relieves federal agencies from the Section 
106 requirement to consider the effects of undertakings on the 
bridge types identified in Section V of this Program Comment, except 
for those subject to the considerations noted in Section IV of this 
Program Comment.
    Undertakings include those that involve applications from State 
transportation agencies or local governments for federal permits, 
approvals, or assistance that will result in alteration, 
replacement, or

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demolition of one or more of the common bridges or culverts listed 
in Section V below (common bridges). All federal agencies may take 
advantage of the streamlining provided by this Program Comment. 
Federal agencies may use data from the NBI or existing State surveys 
to support the determination that a particular bridge is a common 
bridge under this Program Comment. However, if data from the NBI is 
used, that information must be verified in the field by a qualified 
engineer or cultural resource professional to ensure that the date 
and type have been correctly recorded and that the bridge does not 
meet any of the other considerations under Section IV.
    The Program Comment applies to common bridges regardless of 
ownership, except for those located on tribal lands.\1\ As noted 
above, even if the undertaking involves a common bridge not subject 
to considerations under Section IV, federal agency officials must 
still complete Section 106 review for the undertaking, including the 
identification of historic properties and consideration of effects 
of the undertaking on historic properties other than the common 
bridge itself. Such effects to other historic properties may be 
direct or indirect, and must be considered by the federal agency 
official whether or not the Program Comment is applicable to the 
subject bridge. For example, bridge replacement projects may have 
the following types of effects to non-common bridge historic 
properties that would need to be considered:
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    \1\ Indian tribes wishing to use the streamlining measures in 
this Program Comment for common bridges on lands under their 
jurisdiction are encouraged to enter into program alternatives 
pursuant to 36 CFR 800.14.

--disturbance to archeological sites as a result of construction-
related ground disturbing activities;
--change in physical features that contribute to historic 
significance of a historic property, including alterations that a 
new bridge may have on the historic setting and feeling of an 
adjacent historic district;
--change in traffic patterns that may affect the setting, feeling, 
and association of a historic district; or
--effects to other historic properties based on the need for 
temporary construction, detours, or rights-of-way.

    A federal agency is not required to use this Program Comment. 
Federal agencies that choose not to use this Program Comment must 
comply with Section 106 through the process in the Section 106 
regulations at 36 CFR Sec. Sec.  800.3 through 800.7, or 36 CFR 
Sec.  800.8(c), or another existing program alternative under 36 CFR 
Sec.  800.14. Any federal agency that chooses to use this Program 
Comment for an undertaking should notify consulting parties that it 
will use it with regard to the effects of the undertaking on the 
bridge types identified in Section V of this Program Comment.

IV. Considerations

    Prior to utilizing this Program Comment for an undertaking that 
may affect a common bridge, a federal agency, based on the work of a 
qualified cultural resource specialist, must complete a review to 
determine if any of the considerations listed below apply to the 
bridge at issue. If the federal agency determines that the common 
bridge in question meets any of these considerations, the agency may 
not utilize this Program Comment with regard to that common bridge.
    (A) The bridge is listed in or has previously been determined 
eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or is located 
adjacent to or within a National Register listed or eligible 
historic district, including linear historic districts such as a 
parkway, historic road, or canal;
    (B) The bridge in question is or includes spans of the following 
types: Arch bridges, truss bridges, bridges with movable spans, 
suspension bridges, cable-stayed bridges, or covered bridges; or
    (C) The bridge was identified in a list created through the 
process detailed below as having exceptional significance for 
association with an event or individual, or being a very early or 
particularly important example of its type in a State or the nation, 
having distinctive engineering or architectural features that depart 
from standard designs, such as an aesthetic railing or balustrade, 
includes spans of exceptional length or complexity, or displaying 
other elements that were engineered to respond to a unique 
environmental context.
    Before the Program Comment may be used for undertakings in a 
State, the relevant FHWA Division must first develop a list of 
bridges in that State that are of the types considered common 
bridges, but that also meet the considerations in IV.C above, and 
therefore fall outside the scope of this Program Comment. Each FHWA 
Division wishing to apply the provisions of this Program Comment 
must organize a meeting of the relevant SHPO, DOT, and other 
interested parties in order to develop the list of bridges that meet 
the criteria considerations in IV.C. The list should be finalized 
and submitted to the Federal Preservation Officer of FHWA by March 
31, 2013. FHWA Divisions are not required to develop a statewide 
survey or context studies to support the development of such lists 
where none exist. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, but 
will be informed by input received at the meeting. The intent behind 
the list is to be able to exclude readily recognizable exceptional 
bridges from the Program Comment. Where States already have a 
current (within the last 5 years) Programmatic Agreement, inventory, 
or management plan for historic bridges that identifies common 
bridges meeting any of the listed considerations, the data included 
in those Programmatic Agreements, inventories, or management plans 
may suffice to create the list. States lacking up to date historic 
bridge inventories may subsequently identify additional bridges to 
include on the list of exceptional bridges excluded from the Program 
Comment based on information obtained in a field verification 
required in Section III of this Program Comment.

V. Description of Common Bridges Within the Scope of This Program 
Comment

    Based on the historic bridge context, the NBI, information 
developed in statewide bridge inventories across the United States, 
and consultation with the National Conference of SHPOs and other 
stakeholders, the following common bridge types are considered well-
documented standardized designs that lack individual distinction.\2\ 
It is understood that some of the bridges that fall into the 
specified types may be eligible for the National Register under 
local or State significance. Nevertheless, provided none of the 
considerations specified in Section IV above apply, the following 
are the common bridge types that fall within the scope of this 
Program Comment:
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    \2\ Descriptions and examples of these common bridge types can 
be found in A Context for Common Historic Bridge Types. NCHRP 
Project 25-25, task 15, October 2005 (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/archive/NotesDocs/25-25%2815%29_FR.pdf).

(A) Reinforced concrete slab bridges
    (i) Reinforced concrete cast-in-place slabs
    (ii) Reinforced concrete pre-cast slabs
    (iii) Pre-stressed concrete slabs
(B) Reinforced concrete beam and girder bridges
    (i) Reinforced concrete Tee Beams
    (ii) Reinforced concrete channel beams
    (iii) Pre-stressed concrete I-Beams and Bulb Tees
    (iv) Pre-stressed concrete box beams
(C) Steel Multi-Beam or Multi-Girder bridges
    (i) Steel-rolled multi-beams
    (ii) Steel fabricated (built up) girders
(D) Culverts and reinforced concrete boxes
    (i) Reinforced concrete boxes
    (ii) Concrete box culverts
    (iii) Concrete pipe culverts
    (iv) Steel pipe culverts

VI. Programmatic Mitigation

    The programmatic mitigation measures in this section resolve 
adverse effects that could result from the potential replacement of 
common bridges and provide appropriate documentation of those common 
bridges covered by this program comment. By completing the 
requirements of Section IV, federal agencies will ensure that this 
Program Comment is appropriately applied to individual undertakings 
affecting common bridges. The measures included in this Section, 
when completed by FHWA, will provide a long-term record of these 
common bridge types and information about the historic and 
technological significance of this period of innovation in 
transportation.
    (A) If a suitable example from at least one State is not already 
included in the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) 
collection, one set of HAER documentation, including at least 
narrative history and photographs, for each bridge type in Section V 
shall be prepared and submitted by FHWA for acceptance by HAER 
before December 31, 2013. The FHWA will coordinate with HAER to 
determine which, if any, of these types are not yet represented in 
the HAER collection and will work with the FHWA Division offices and 
State DOTs to identify a candidate for each type not already 
represented.
    (B) FHWA will complete a brief illustrated history of post-1945 
highway bridge engineering and design to document for the general 
public the innovations and

[[Page 68795]]

contributions to transportation in the Post World War II era. The 
illustrated history will be published as a brochure and/or posted on 
the Internet, and shall be completed and available to the public 
prior to December 31, 2013.
    (C) The FHWA will encourage State transportation agencies that 
have not done so within the last 5 years to update inventories of 
historic bridges in their States to better ensure that bridges 
meeting the considerations in Section IV above are identified and 
considered early in the Section 106 review process.

VII. Definitions

    If not specifically addressed below, terms used within this 
Program Comment shall be defined consistent with the definitions 
provided in 36 CFR Part 800.
    ``Common Bridge'' is, for purposes of this Program Comment, a 
common post-1945 bridge or culvert of a type identified in Section 
V.
    ``Program Comment'' is an alternative to Section 106 review that 
allows a Federal agency to request the ACHP to comment on a category 
of undertakings in lieu of conducting individual reviews under 
Sections 800.4 through 800.6 of the regulations (36 CFR Part 800).
    ``Qualified cultural resource specialist'' means an individual 
meeting the Secretary of the Interior's professional qualifications 
for historian or architectural historian by virtue of education and 
experience to carry out historic preservation work.

    Authority:  36 CFR 800.14(e).

    Dated: November 8, 2012.
John M. Fowler,
Executive Director.
[FR Doc. 2012-27866 Filed 11-15-12; 8:45 am]
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