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Intensive Cultural Resources Survey Of The Proposed Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project From Blanco Road To Wetmore Road, Bexar County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), of the proposed Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project in San Antonio, Texas. TxDOT proposes to extend the existing Wurzbach Parkway approximately 5.3 miles between Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 2696 (Blanco Road) and Wetmore Road. The undertaking involves the new construction of a four-lane divided roadway within an approximately 250-foot right-of-way (ROW) that is state-owned property. Overall, the Area of Potential Effects (APE) is 27,984 feet long, 250 feet wide, and maximally 10 feet deep. Additionally, the APE covers roughly 51.77 acres of permanent and temporary easements. SWCA’s investigations of the Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project APE included a background review, and an intensive pedestrian survey with shovel testing and backhoe trenching of selected areas within the APE.
The background literature review determined that 21 surveys of varying magnitude have been conducted within or adjacent to the APE. These surveys are related to roadway construction or expansion, as well as park development. Fourteen archaeological sites have been documented within or adjacent to the APE and 44 additional archaeological sites have been previously recorded within 1 mile of it. The APE traverses a portion of the Walker Ranch National Register District, but the undertaking does not affect any contributing resources besides those that were previously mitigated by TxDOT in the 1990s.
SWCA archaeologists conducted field investigations within the Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project APE between May 1 and June 21, 2007. The pedestrian survey established that the majority of the APE has been disturbed by previous residential, commercial, and dam construction. Of the 14 previously recorded sites within or immediately adjacent to the APE, seven were determined during the current survey not to extend into the APE (41BX181, 41BX183, 41BX194, 41BX203, 41BX209, 41BX222, and 41BX223). Two of the seven sites within the APE had been successfully mitigated through prior data recovery efforts (41BX184 and 41BX228), while landforms associated with site 41BX202 were found to have been completely destroyed. Current investigations included a reconnaissance survey of site 41BX949, shovel testing at site 41BX948, and backhoe trenching at site 41BX947. Right of entry was denied at two properties, including the Coker United Methodist Church, which precluded a revisit to 41BX1062.
The portions of sites 41BX184, 4BX202, 41BX228, and 41BX949 that remain in the Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project APE are not considered eligible for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or for designation as a State Archeological Landmark (SAL); therefore, SWCA recommends no further work at these sites. Survey-level excavations at 41BX947 and 41BX948 revealed no cultural materials, temporally diagnostic artifacts, features, or intact buried deposits. Thus, 41BX947 and 41BX948 have little to no research value. As such, neither 41BX947 nor 41BX948 is considered significant or eligible for inclusion in the NRHP or for designation as an SAL. Based on the extent of previous investigations and the results of the current survey, SWCA recommends no additional archaeological investigations for 41BX184, 4BX202, 41BX228, 41BX947, 41BX948, 41BX949, and 41BX1062.
Subsequent to the SWCA survey, TxDOT conducted an impact evaluation of the additional 51.77 acres of easements associated with the project. No cultural resources were documented as part of this effort. This TxDOT work was submitted with the SWCA draft report to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) who concurred with the findings in both reports. This report combines the results of both investigations into a final report to satisfy the Texas Antiquities Code (TAC) permit requirements.
In accordance with Section 106, 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 800.4, SWCA and TxDOT have made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify archaeological historic properties within the APE. As no properties were identified that meet the criteria for listing on the NRHP according to 36 CFR 60.4 or for designation as an SAL according to 13 TAC 26.12, no archeological historic properties are affected and SWCA recommends no further work for the 5.3-mile Wurzbach Parkway Extension Project APE. Artifacts were collected as part of the undertaking and will be curated at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.
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