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Agency

Texas Historical Commission

Abstract

On behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey with shovel testing and backhoe trenching from November 29–30, 2017, of approximately 27.55 acres (11.15 hectares) of existing and 10.45 acres (4.23 hectares) of proposed new TxDOT right-of-way (ROW) along State Highway (SH) 6 and Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 2, located approximately 7.0 miles (11.3 kilometers [km]) southeast of Navasota and 11.0 miles (17.7 km) northwest of Hempstead, Grimes County, Texas. Because the project will receive funding from the Federal Highways Administration, it qualifies as an undertaking as defined in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 800.16(y) and, therefore, survey was conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (54 U.S. Code 306108). Furthermore, the project must also comply with the Antiquities Code of Texas (9 Natural Resources Code 191). Jason Barrett served as Principal Investigator under Texas Antiquities Permit No. 8213.

The total area of potential effects (APE) consists of 27.55 acres (11.15 hectares) of existing and 10.45 acres (4.23 hectares) of proposed new TxDOT ROW along a 1-mile (1.6-km) long stretch of SH 6 slated for improvements to the FM 2 intersection and modifications on two side-by-side SH 6 bridges over Beason Creek. At the time of the investigations, right of entry (ROE) was obtained for all but 3.0 acres (1.2 hectares) of proposed new ROW, all of which is located along the eastern side of SH 6. The typical depth of impacts for the project is variable, with a maximum depth of 20.0 feet (6.1 meters) where improvements to the intersection and modification to the bridges will occur.

A background literature review determined that the APE has not been previously surveyed for cultural resources, and that no archeological sites, cemeteries, National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) districts and properties, or historical markers are within the APE or within a 0.6-mile (1-km) radius of the APE. No historic-age buildings or structures were identified within the APE during a review of the TxDOT Historic Overlay Maps (Foster et al. 2006). Field investigations of the existing ROW and 7.0 acres (2.8 hectares) of proposed new ROW for which access has been granted consisted of an intensive pedestrian survey supplemented with the excavation of 15 shovel tests and a single backhoe trench. Areas without ROE were examined from the accessible portions of the APE. The existing ROW has been heavily modified as a result of road construction, ditches, driveways, buried and overhead utilities, and immediately adjacent commercial and industrial development. The proposed new ROW has been modified by farming and ranching practices and infrastructure, as well as some commercial development. SWCA documented two isolated finds (IFs), one prehistoric (IF01) and one historic (IF02), along the margins of the SH 6 at FM 2 survey area. IFs are not eligible for the NRHP or for designation as a State Antiquities Landmark. SWCA recommends a finding of “no historic properties affected” and no further archeological investigations. Cultural resources survey of the currently inaccessible parcels with proposed new ROW is not recommended due to the negligible and heavily modified areas involved.

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