American Society of Civil Engineers

Environmental Mandates for a Proposed Highway or Bridge Project When the Habitat of an Endangered Species and/or Historical Properties Are in the Vicinity

by Marilyn E. Phelan, (P.W. Horn Prof., School of Law, Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409-1004) and Scott Phelan, P.E., A.M.ASCE, (Sr. Bridge Engr., Intl Bridge Technologies, Inc., San Diego, CA 92123; formerly, Asst. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Texas Tech Univ., Lubbock, TX 79409-1023)

Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, Vol. 133, No. 2, April 2007, pp. 163-167, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Prior to beginning a major highway or bridge project, the transportation planner must address requirements set out in the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). NEPA requires a specific evaluation of the effect a major highway or bridge project will have on the environment. This evaluation must include consideration of the effect the project may have on the habitat of an endangered species, which implicates provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and on historical properties in the vicinity of the project, which implicates provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). This paper presents requisites of NEPA that integrate the requirements of ESA and NHPA into the initial evaluation of the impact on the human environment of a major highway or bridge project. The intent of this paper is to provide guidance to transportation planners in light of NEPA, ESA, and NHPA statutes as they begin the planning stages for highway and bridge projects.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Endangered species
Environmental issues
Highway bridges
Highways and roads
Historic sites