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Subject: ACTION: National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program Request for FY 2009 Project Applications (Reply Due: March 2, 2009) Date: January 12, 2009
From: /s/ Original Signed by
M. Myint Lwin, P.E., S.E.
Director, Office of Bridge Technology
Reply to:
Attn. of:
To: Division Administrators

The purpose of this memorandum is to solicit applications for the FY 2009 National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation (NHCBP) Program and to provide an update on the FY 2008 program.

The NHCBP Program was established by Section 1804 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) Public Law 109–59, and provides funding to assist the States in the rehabilitation, repair, or preservation of the Nation's historic covered bridges. For the purposes of the NHCBP Program, the term "historic covered bridge" means a covered bridge that is listed or eligible for listing on the National Register for Historic Places. The NHCBP Program provides for two categories of projects. One category is to assist the States in carrying out the rehabilitation, repair, or preservation of the Nation's historic covered bridges. The other category focuses on research and education on and about the Nation's historic covered bridges.

This solicitation is only intended for applications regarding the rehabilitation, repair, or preservation of the Nation's historic covered bridges.

FY 2008 NHCBP Program

Applications for projects were solicited through a memorandum that was distributed on March 3, 2008, and received on April 30, 2008. A total of 21 applications were received from 7 States. Project application requests for funding totaled over $9.8 million. Due to the SAFETEA–LU Technical Corrections Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–244), available funds for FY 2008 were reduced by $10,000, leaving a total of $9,230,000 available to achieve the goals of program for projects, research and education. A total of 10 percent of the amount available ($923,000) was proposed for research and education purposes as required by SAFETEA–LU Section 1804b. The balance of approximately $8.3 million was made available for projects. Having recently received a balance of funds that was returned at the end of FY 2008 and approval of recommended awards by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 16 projects in 7 States have been granted awards, see Attachment 1.

FY 2009 NHCBP Program

Due to the continuing resolution that we are currently operating under, new authorization for the FY 2009 NHCBP program and the total amount of funds available for projects, research and education has not been made available yet. However, in order to have a chance of awarding program funds during the fiscal year, our FY 2009 plan must be developed. The plan includes for a proposal of 10 percent of the total amount of FY 2009 funds to be used for research and education purposes as required by SAFETEA–LU Section 1804b. Research and education funds will be administered separately. The balance of FY 2009 funds will be made available for projects, which are solicited through this memorandum.

New applications for the FY 2009 NHCBP Program are requested at this time. Using the criteria and associated selection considerations as described below, division offices are to assist the State in determining eligible projects to be submitted. Division offices should review State's applications for eligibility, completeness, and assignment of the State's priorities.

All applications that were submitted for FY 2008 which did not receive FY 2008 funding awards will automatically receive consideration for FY 2009 unless otherwise notified by the submitting State. Though it is not necessary for consideration, we invite all applicants to submit any updated information on their projects which they feel appropriate for further consideration by March 2, 2009.

Grants will be awarded to States submitting eligible projects that demonstrate a need for assistance in carrying out one or more eligible projects as outlined below:

  1. to rehabilitate or repair a historic covered bridge;
  2. to preserve a historic covered bridge, including through
    1. installation of a fire protection system, including a fireproofing or fire detection system and sprinklers;
    2. installation of a system to prevent vandalism and arson; or
    3. relocation of a bridge to a preservation site.

To ensure the bridges retain their historical significance, grants will be awarded for projects only if:

  1. to the maximum extent practicable, the project
    1. is carried out in the most historically appropriate manner; and
    2. preserves the existing structure of the historic covered bridge; and
  2. the project provides for the replacement of wooden components, with wooden components, unless the use of wood is impracticable for safety reasons.

Each project must be carried out in the most historically appropriate manner following the Department of the Interior's Standards, and the standards and guidelines approved by the State Historic Preservation Officer. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties may be obtained at the Web site, http://www.cr.nps.gov/hps/tps/standguide/ and should be consulted for the distinct approaches to treatment of historic properties. Although the standards were developed for historic buildings, the terms, guidelines, and suggested approaches are generally applicable to historic covered bridges. States should also consult the FHWA "Covered Bridge Manual," FHWA Publication No. FHWA-HRT-04-098 for additional information, which may be obtained at the Web site, http://www.tfhrc.gov/structur/pubs/04098/index.htm. Please refer to Attachment 2 for additional guidance.

There is no specific form required and applicants have the flexibility to present the information in any form which they deem appropriate. The State's application should include a description of the project in enough detail to demonstrate that it meets one or more of the goals of this program. Included, as Attachment 3, is a list of the required data items for candidate projects. Projects previously submitted but not selected may reapply.

Applications and other support documents that provide further description of the project, such as the scope of work and bridge plans, should be completed and submitted to the Director, Office of Bridge Technology, on or before March 2, 2009. As an alternative to paper, applications may be submitted electronically.

This memorandum and attachments are also being posted on the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program Web site, http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/covered.cfm.

All information is being collected under OMB Control Number 2125-0609.

Questions concerning this program should be addressed to Mr. Everett Matias at (202) 366-6712 (everett.matias@dot.gov) or Mr. Thomas Everett at (202) 366-4675 (thomas.everett@dot.gov) of the Office of Bridge Technology.



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