Texas Historical Commission
On May 5, 2015, SWCA Environmental Consultants conducted an intensive cultural resources survey at Howell Road and Paces Creek crossing in Polk County, Texas. On behalf of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), the investigations were conducted for the proposed replacement of an existing bridge. The work was conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470) and the Antiquities Code of Texas (9 NRC 191). Eric Oksanen served as Principal Investigator under Texas Antiquities Code Permit No. 7267.
The area of potential effects includes new and existing right-of-way (ROW) covering an area approximately 12 to 18 meters (m) wide (40 to 60 feet wide) extending a distance of 241 m (790 feet) along the roadway, totaling approximately 1 acre. The depth of impacts will be limited to less than 60 centimeters (cm) (2 feet) in the approaches with deeper impacts expected where the bridge piers or footings will be constructed.
The background review revealed no previous surveys or recorded cultural resources in the vicinity of the project area. SWCA excavated shovel tests on both sides of the tributary south of the roadway where new ROW will be acquired. Lack of access precluded shovel testing within new ROW, but the investigations immediately adjacent, within existing ROW, allowed adequate assessment to provide recommendations on the archaeological potential in the new areas. The excavations encountered disturbed stratigraphy down to roughly 30 cm (1 foot) (generally from road and bridge construction and residential disturbance) above intact sediments. No cultural resources were identified in the shovel tests, cutbanks, or surface exposures. No further cultural resources investigations are recommended within the existing or new ROW of Hooks Road and Paces Creek.
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