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PUBLIC NOTICE: Mechanics Valley Road Bridge over CSX Railroad Replacement

Post Date:03/08/2018 10:18 AM

March 8, 2018

In compliance with Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966 (49 USC 303), hereinafter referred to as "Section 4(f)," and its implementing regulations codified at 23 CFR Part 774, the Cecil County Department of Public Works (DPW) is notifying the public through this notice that it will request the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) make a de minimis (or minor) impact finding in accordance with Section 4(f) regarding the permanent effects of the proposed Mechanics Valley Road Bridge over CSX Railroad Replacement and to provide the opportunity for public review and comment of this proposed determination.

Section 6009(a) of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) allows the FHWA to determine that certain transportation uses of Section 4(f) land will have no adverse effect on protected resources. With respect to publicly-owned parks and recreation areas, a finding of de minimis impact may occur if a transportation project does not "adversely affect the activities, features, and attributes" of the Section 4(f) resource. When this is the case, the finding by FHWA requires written concurrence from the official(s) with jurisdiction over the resource. Public notice and opportunity for public review and comment on the finding are also required.

The purpose of the proposed project is to replace the bridge and improve vehicular safety. Cecil County DPW is proposing to replace the Mechanics Valley Road Bridge (CE-042) with a new bridge structure just west of the current location, and to realign and reconstruct Mechanics Valley Road and Bouchelle Road north and south of the bridge. Utilities along both roads will be relocated and stormwater management facilities will be constructed. The proposed three-span continuous steel superstructure bridge will provide two twelve-foot traffic lanes and two seven-foot shoulders. Approach roadways will be improved approximately 950 feet south of the bridge on Mechanics Valley Road, 700 feet north of the bridge along Bouchelle Road, and 600 feet northeast of the newly constructed intersection with Bouchelle Road on Mechanics Valley Road.

Replacement of the bridge and realignment of Mechanics Valley and Bouchelle Roads will involve permanent and temporary construction right-of-way impacts to Johnies Ballfield and surrounding parkland, managed by the Cecil County Department of Parks and Recreation. Permanent impacts to the parcel include approximately 15,200 square feet (SF) of fee simple right-of-way acquisition and 6,400 SF for a drainage easement. The permanently impacted areas are outside of the fenced ballfield and include portions of the existing roadway. The impacts will not cause a permanent, adverse change to or use of Johnies Ballfield. Temporary impacts during construction would include 900 SF to the baseball field and the removal of 100 feet of outfield fencing. Following construction, the outfield fence will be replaced, and land will be returned to its previous condition. Although the right-of-way to be transferred from the recreation area is considered a ''use" as defined by Section 4(f) of the U.S. Department of Transportation Act of 1966, there will be no negative impact on the activities, features, and attributes that qualify the recreation area for protection under Section 4(f).

Cecil County DPW is currently seeking concurrence with Cecil County Department of Parks and Recreation, as the officials with jurisdiction, regarding the de minimis finding. The public is requested to provide comments on this finding. Comments regarding the proposed Section 4(f) de minimis impact finding may be submitted to Cecil County DPW in writing during the 15-day comment period; the comment deadline is March 28, 2018.

Written comments may be provided to:
Cecil County Department of Public Works
Attn: Mr. John Fabian, P.E.
200 Chesapeake Blvd, Suite 2400, Elkton, MD 21921
or via email to:

Supporting Map of Mechanics Valley Road Bridge 


For more information, contact:
Jennifer Lyall
Public Information Officer

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