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Intensive Cultural Resources Survey Of The Proposed Realignment Of County Road 176, Williamson County, Texas
Texas Historical Commission
At the request of Prime Strategies, Inc., and on behalf of Williamson County, Texas, SWCA Environmental Consultants (SWCA) conducted an intensive cultural resources survey of the proposed realignment of existing County Road (CR) 176 in southwestern Williamson County, Texas. The realignment proposes to construct a direct route from the current intersection of CR 176 and Deer Draw Road to Ranch-to-Market (RM) 2243. The project involves lands owned by Williamson County (a subdivision of the state); therefore, the project is subject to review under the Antiquities Code of Texas (ACT). SWCA conducted the investigations under Texas Antiquities Permit Number 7718. Subsequent to the initial fieldwork discussed in this report, changes to the project area were made in 2017 and 2018. These changes are the subject of the attached addendum report.
The proposed project involves the construction of approximately 2,000 feet (609 meters [m]) of new roadway from its intersection at Deer Draw Road, extending north-northwest through rural rangeland until connecting at RM 2243. The proposed project will be constructed within a 150-foot-wide (75.7-m) corridor, composed of a 20- to 30-foot-wide (6.1- to 9.1-m) road easement with a 60- to 65-foot-wide (18.3- to 19.8-m) temporary construction easement. To allow for possible shifting of the proposed alignment in portions of the project corridor, archaeological investigations were conducted within a survey corridor that varied from 150 to 250 feet (45.7–76.2 m) wide. The depth of impacts will be roughly less than 3 feet below ground surface during roadway construction. Therefore, the area of potential effects (APE) for the proposed project encompasses roughly 7 acres. Due to the varying width of the proposed corridor, approximately 12 acres were examined for potential impacts to cultural resources.
The background literature review revealed that one previously conducted linear survey intersects the project area. No previously recorded archaeological sites or cemeteries are located within the project corridor. Only one known archaeological site (41WM1317) was identified approximately 55 feet (17 m) north-northwest of the project area across RM 2243. A total of five cultural resources investigations and 11 previously recorded archaeological sites are located within a 1-mile radius of the project. A review of the Texas Department of Transportation Historic Overlay identified three possible historic-age resources, one located within the project area and two within 300 feet of the project area.
Field investigations involved the excavation of 21 shovel tests and an extensive visual examination of the ground surface within the proposed right-of-way. As a result of the investigations, SWCA recorded two previously undocumented historic-age farmstead complexes (41WM1342 and 41WM1343). Site 41WM1342 is composed of a cistern likely dating to 1939, a residential building that most likely dates to the 1940s, and four early- to mid-twentieth-century outbuildings, of which two outbuildings are located within the direct APE. Soils are very thin and no subsurface materials were identified. The main residential building in the complex is characterized as a 1940s residential structure that had been relocated to the property between 1976 and 1988. All of the outbuildings are in poor to ruinous condition and are of common vernacular style and construction methods. Based on these factors, SWCA recommends site 41WM1342 as being NOT ELIGIBLE for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). No further work is recommended within the project area.
Site 41BX1343 is composed of five mid-twentieth-century structures. Based on the surficial and scattered nature of deposits, the commonality of the structures, and contemporary debris and refuse scattered throughout the site, the site is unlikely to contribute new or important information to local or regional history. As such, SWCA recommends site 41WM1343 as being NOT ELIGIBLE for the NRHP and no further work is recommended.
In accordance with 33 Code of Federal Regulations 800.4, SWCA has made a reasonable and good faith effort to identify cultural resources within the APE. As no archaeological historic properties or sites were identified that meet the criteria for listing on the NRHP or warranting designation as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL), per 13 Texas Administrative Code 26.10, SWCA recommends that a determination of No Historic Properties Affected be applied to the complete undertaking and that no further cultural resources investigations are warranted within the APE.
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