Section 4(f)

Ensure transportation improvements and preservation go hand in hand.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, Preservation Connecticut has worked to mitigate the adverse impact of transportation projects on historic resources using a law called “Section 4(f).”  Learn about other federal laws affecting historic resources. 

This law, which is part of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966, 49 U.S.C. § 303, requires transportation agencies to avoid harming historic places unless there is no “feasible and prudent” alternative to doing so.  If a historic place is to be compromised, Section 4(f) requires that the transportation project include “all possible planning” to minimize the damage.

Section 4(f) is the strongest federal preservation law on the books.  It saved New Orleans’ French Quarter from having an elevated freeway built through it, and it kept a proposed highway widening from destroying portions of the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.

In Connecticut, Section 4(f) helped to protect a critical section of the Merritt Parkway, in Norwalk, from losing its historic character.  See Merritt Parkway Conservancy v. Mineta, 424 F.Supp.2d 396 (Conn. 2006) – a Section 4(f) case for which the Preservation Connecticut (then the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation) was a plaintiff.

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