Section 4(f) and Section 6(f) Resources
Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, abbreviated here for simplicity, specifies that the Secretary of Transportation may approve a transportation project requiring the use of publicly owned land of a public park, recreation area, or wildlife or waterfowl refuge, or land of an historic site only if there is no prudent and feasible alternative and the project includes all possible planning to minimize harm resulting from the use, or the use is de minimis (or negligible).
Walter Dick Memorial Park, which is located below the bridges, will be impacted because permanent right-of-way is needed for new pier locations. No active recreation areas will be permanently impacted; however, a portion of a nature trail will need to be relocated on the eastern side of North Fork Redbank Creek.
Additionally, the project will require temporary access roads during construction. Approximately 1.2 acres of park property will be permanently impacted and approximately 5.5 acres will be temporarily impacted.
PennDOT conducted a virtual public meeting in March 2021 to collect public comments on potential impacts to the park. In response to the single comment received on the park, PennDOT will minimize impacts to mature trees. In addition, a flyer was posted in the park in August 2021 seeking input on proposed impacts. No additional comments were received.
It was determined that the impacts to the park would be de minimis (or negligible). The park will remain open for recreational activities during construction, though park access may be temporarily limited during certain activities, such as bridge demolition or girder installation. When known, information about temporary park restrictions will be posted to the I-80 North Fork Bridges Project website and the Brookville Borough website.
Walter Dick Memorial Park is also protected under Section 6(f) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act of 1965. The LWCF Act created the LWCF State Assistance Program to assist in preserving, developing and assuring all citizens of the United States the availability of outdoor recreation resources. The program provides matching grants up to 50 percent to states and through states to local governments for acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation sites and facilities. The Act contains mandatory provisions to protect property acquired or developed with assistance of the LWCF. The National Park Service (NPS) is the federal agency responsible for administering the LWCF. The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has confirmed that LWCF funds were used to purchase land for the Walter Dick Memorial Park. The entire park is afforded protection under Section 6(f).
As such, any land necessary to be acquired for construction of the project would be considered a conversion from public outdoor recreation use to transportation use. A temporary construction easement occupied longer than 180 days is considered a permanent conversion also requiring replacement of property.
PennDOT will provide replacement land for the Section 6(f) conversion (required right-of-way, and temporary construction easements). This replacement land will also serve as part of mitigation for the Section 4(f) use of Walter Dick Memorial Park.