Texas Historical Commission
At the request of Brookfield Residential, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey for the proposed realignment of Farm-to-Market Road (FM) 1625 in southeast Austin, Travis County, Texas. Portions of the project area are located within road right-of-way (ROW) owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), a political subdivision of the State of Texas. As such, the proposed undertaking is subject to review under the Antiquities Code of Texas. Archaeological field investigations required a Texas Antiquities Permit issued by the Texas Historical Commission. SWCA conducted investigations under Antiquities Permit No. 7975 issued to Principal Investigator Ken Lawrence.
The proposed realignment of FM 1625 begins 0.15 mile (790 feet) south of the intersection of McKenzie Road and FM 1625. The alignment trends northeast for 0.3 mile (1,555 feet) until the intersection of McKenzie Road and U.S. Highway 183 (US 183), and continues for another 300 feet north along the west side of US 183. The project also involves the removal of existing pavement along McKenzie Road and FM 1625 between US 183 and McKenzie Road and the removal of the bridge spanning the North Fork Dry Creek. The depth of impacts are anticipated to not exceed five feet below ground surface. This represents the direct area of potential effects (APE) for this project
Investigations included a background literature review and an intensive pedestrian survey with shovel testing of the 0.3-mile-long project corridor. The proposed pavement removal will be limited to previously disturbed portions of the project area and as such, no survey will be conducted in these areas. As for the bridge removal planned at the crossing of North Fork Dry Creek, the bridge was photo documented and examined to determine if it is historic. The background review revealed that no cultural resource surveys and no cultural resource sites are within the project area (Texas Historical Commission [THC] 2017). One cultural resources survey and two archaeological sites are located within a 1-mile radius of the APE. Additionally, a review of the TxDOT Historic Overlay maps revealed no potential historic-age structures within or adjacent to the current project area (Foster et al. 2006).
Overall, the intensive pedestrian survey revealed primarily agricultural lands with broad pastures and scattered residential housing within the upland Blackland Prairie environment. Previous impacts to the project area include agricultural and residential activity, vegetation clearing, and the construction and maintenance of FM 1625 and McKenzie Road, including drainage improvements. During the intensive survey investigations, which comprised visual inspection and the excavation of four shovel tests along the 0.3 mile of new ROW, SWCA identified no surface or subsurface cultural materials.
In accordance with 33 Code of Federal Regulations 800.4, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources properties within the APE. The field investigation discovered neither significant historic properties nor cultural resources as defined in the respective legislation; therefore, SWCA recommends that a finding of “no historic properties affected” be made for the current undertaking.
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