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St. Marys Falls Canal Bridge Construction, Sault Ste. Marie, Chippewa County, Michigan

Posted: 8/15/2014

Expiration date:


TO ALL INTERESTED AGENCIES, PUBLIC GROUPS, AND CITIZENS

 

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District (USACE) is proposing to construct a truss bridge over the Unit 10 tailrace at the Saint Marys Falls Canal (Soo Locks), which is a National Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.  This notice is provided as required by 36 CFR 800.2 d (2)-Protection of Historic Properties and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  A document describing the proposed project can be obtained for review online at: http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/Missions/EnvironmentalServices/EnvironmentalPublicNotices.aspx   or a paper copy can be provided upon request.

 

The purpose of the proposed project is to ensure safe access to the New Power House in order to keep the plant maintained and operational.  The New Power House is essential as it provides electrical power to a portion of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  The existing bridge was designed to be a temporary structure and it does not meet current safety requirements.  The existing bridge is in poor condition with advanced corrosion throughout the entire structure including the base connections of the hand railings, and there is buckling of members in a few areas. Long term continued use of the bridge poses a safety risk to Soo Locks Area Office personnel.

 

Alternatives being considered for the proposed project include: 1) Repairing the current bridge, 2) Constructing a berm and truss bridge, 3) Constructing a bridge similar to the existing bridge, and 4) No Action.  The preferred alternative is Alternative 2 as it will meet the project’s purpose and need at the lowest cost.  Upon completion of the proposed project, the existing bridge would be removed to ensure it does not impact future Soo Locks operations.

 

While the USACE has determined that the removal of the existing bridge would not threaten the historic integrity of the Soo Locks as a whole, the removal of the existing bridge and construction of a new bridge has been determined to be an “adverse effect” to a historic property under Section 106 of the NHPA. The USACE is in consultation with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, the National Park Service National Register Program, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to determine the appropriate way to implement the proposed project while protecting the historic integrity of the Soo Locks to the extent possible.

 

Comments on the proposed project must be made within 30 days from the date of this notice; otherwise it will be assumed you have no comment.  Please direct your comments to Mr. Curtis Sedlacek at the following address:

 

Department of the Army

Detroit District, Corps of Engineers

Environmental Analysis Branch, Curtis Sedlacek

477 Michigan Avenue

Detroit, Michigan 48226

 

All comments received will be considered by the USACE. The USACE, through consultation with the Michigan SHPO and NPS, will make a final determination on which alternative to pursue and the appropriate way to implement the proposed project while protecting the historic integrity of the Soo Locks to the extent possible.