The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) strives to balance historic preservation concerns with the task of planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining the State’s complex transportation infrastructure. MoDOT’s Historic Preservation staff works to identify potential conflicts between the two and to help resolve them in the public interest. MoDOT makes every effort to comply with federal and state historic preservation legislation and regulations, address citizen concerns, and maintain environmental responsibility.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires that MoDOT consider the potential impacts that any federally funded or permitted project may pose to significant cultural resources. Cultural resources include archaeological sites, buildings, structures (e.g., bridges), objects, or districts. The significance of a cultural resource is evaluated by applying a specific set of criteria that are set forth by the National Register of Historic Places. Cultural resources that meet the criteria of eligibility for listing, or already listed, on the National Register of Historic Places are referred to as “historic properties.” MoDOT must evaluate the potential impacts of a project on all identified cultural resources, regardless of their significance. Failure to obtain Section 106 clearance could jeopardize federal funding and permits for a project, which could result in project delays. After the review process is initiated, compliance with Section 106 requires three things:
- Identify Historic Properties – Determine project’s area of effect, identify historic properties, and evaluate historic significance;
- Assess Adverse Effects – Assess if the project will have an adverse effect on historic properties; and
- Resolve Adverse Effects – Avoidance, minimization, and/or mitigation of any adverse effect on historic properties.
Section 106 encourages, but does not mandate, the preservation of historic properties. The goal of Section 106 is to ensure that preservation values are factored into the planning process for all federally funded or permitted projects. It provides assurance that agencies will assume responsibility and public accountability for their decisions when dealing with cultural resources.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s pamphlet Protecting Historic Properties: A Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 Review is an excellent starting point for citizens seeking more information on their role in the Section 106 process. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, as per their website, “…is an independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.” In Missouri, the State Historic Preservation Office in the Department of Natural Resources is responsible, in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service and local governments, in assisting in the Section 106 process.
If you have concerns or knowledge of a proposed MoDOT project that may impact a historic property, please contact MoDOT's historic preservation manager, Michael.Meinkoth@modot.mo.gov.
Links to the historic preservation topics that MoDOT considers in the planning, construction, and maintenance of Missouri's transportation system are located at the top of the page.