Western Hills Viaduct Replacement Project in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

Services Provided:

ASC Group completed cultural and environmental resources tasks for the Western Hills Viaduct  over Mill Creek-in the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton, County, Ohio. The project proposes replacement of the existing bridge over Mill Creek.

The ecological field survey included identification of waterways, wetlands, endangered species habitat, and other sensitive ecological resources. ASC also conducted the ESA Screening for the project which identified parcels of concern based on review of regulatory databases and a visual inspection of the study area.

An ODOT-OES memorandum, identified three sites that warranted a Phase I ESA.  Phase I ESAs were completed by ASC Group who recommended Phase II ESAs for two of the parcels.

The Noise Analysis identified eight noise sensitive areas within the survey area. This noise analysis identified noise impacts at 49 residential receptors located in four different areas and at a restaurant outdoor use area. Noise barriers were considered for all impacted receptors but were determined not to be feasible or reasonable based on cost and on physical constraints such as steep terrain, space limitations, pedestrian access, and driveway access. Therefore, no barrier designs were developed and no barriers are proposed.

A Section 106 Scoping Request was completed for cultural resources early in the project to identify known archaeological sites, cemeteries and historic buildings. The results revealed no previously recorded archaeological sites; however, one cemetery and numerous structures had been previously recorded in the study area.

The project will impact the viaduct as well as two additional National Register of Historic Places-eligible resources. A Section 4(f) Determination, Documentation for Consultation, and Memorandum of Agreement are being completed for these resources. The Section 4(f) Determinations include preparation of Programmatic and Individual Determinations.

A Categorical Exclusion-D2 was completed for the project.  It details and documents the engineering and design details of the project, evaluated environmental impacts, and developed environmental commitments. It includes specifics of the extensive public involvement completed as part of project development.

CUY-Highland Road (CR 47) Bridge Rehabilitation in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Services Provided:

ASC Group conducted a series of Cultural Resources, Ecological, and Environmental studies for the proposed rehabilitation of four bridges carrying Highland Road (CR 47) over Euclid Creek in the City of Euclid, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The proposed construction limits of the road work extended from 450 ft north of Bridge No. 156 (00.13) to 500 ft south of Bridge No. 226 (00.64); a stretch of Highland Road through the Cleveland Metroparks extending ca. 3,400-ft south of Euclid Avenue (US 6). It crosses the creek four times and also includes Bridges No. 157 (00.31) and No. 158 (00.54). The proposed undertaking involved bridge rehabilitation and road resurfacing. ASC worked with the client, city and county officials, and various state and federal agencies over an extended period of time to coordinate and complete the various studies needed for permitting of the project.

The Section 106 Request for Review presented information indicating that there are no known or previously inventoried cultural resources that would be impacted by the undertaking. The Ecological Survey identified habitats that are within the ranges of four endangered species, but it was determined the project was not likely to adversely affect them. Euclid Creek is a salmonid stream. ASC Group, Inc. prepared an application for a waiver on stream entry times from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a part of the Section 404 permit submittal and coordinated with the US Army Corps of Engineers, who determined that a Section 401 permit would not be required. Asbestos requiring remediation during construction was identified in the utilities beneath all four bridges. Through coordination with the Ohio Department of Transportation, a determination of Temporary-No Use was made concerning potential impacts to the Euclid Creek Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks and thus the undertaking did not require a detailed Section 4(f) permit to proceed.

ASC Group at COSI

On July 14, 2018, ASC Group’s archaeologists volunteered at COSI with the ASC exhibit! They interacted with the kids about archaeology, showing them prehistoric and historic artifacts.  It was displayed outside of COSI’s newest exhibit, Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets.

Bumble Bee Watch

ASC Group is participating in a National public science project called Bumble Bee Watch. This project is an effort to help track bumble bee species whereabouts and further our knowledge and understanding of these diligent and critical pollinators. If you would like to also “bee” involved with this program you can visit the Bumble Bee Watch website and sign up today. It’s very easy.

Earth Day Cleanup

The Columbus Ohio office of ASC Group celebrated Earth Day a few days early on April 20, 2018. In celebration, we removed trash from Bill Moose Run which flows right next to our Columbus office. Approximately 28 combined hours to Stream Cleanup; removing 27 forty gallon trash bags full of debris and refuse. Plastic bags were the dominate trash item we removed, and were surprised to find the following items: A golf ball, a piece of vinyl siding, a wind breaker, boxer shorts, a transient camp site, A pair of pants, half a roller skate, a folding chair, yellow police tape, a tire, a Coke bottle made in Lima Ohio, and a cheerleading pom-pom. We even found an Ohio artifact, Marion Brick, from Morral Ohio. We hope your Earth Day celebration is a smashing success! Happy Earth Day!

Cultural Resources Literature Reviews and Due-Dilligence Cultural Resouces Surveys for AEP Electric Transmission Corridors

Services Provided:

Working for American Electric Power Ohio Transmission Company (AEP), ASC Group, Inc., completed literature reviews and due-diligence cultural resources surveys for five electric transmission corridors. The proposed 69 kV electrical line corridor is not considered to be a federal project, and thus it is not subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, at least at this time. Depending upon on the regulatory actions of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntington District regarding this project, the potential exists for there to be a federal regulatory nexus. Thus, the archaeological surveys have been focused on 100-ft buffers around wetlands and waterbodies, which would be the USACE jurisdictional area. Presently, the cultural resources surveys are a due-diligence item for AEP as it develops the proposed project.

Generally, the projects consist of the construction of 66-ft to 79-ft high monopoles installed every approximately 300 ft along the proposed corridors.  The proposed project involves the creation of access roads and other infrastructure, such as drains, to support installation of the electrical lines. The focus of the archaeological due-diligence survey is on locating cemeteries, mounds, and historic and prehistoric sites. The focus of the aboveground due-diligence survey components are documentation of historic structures, typically houses, within 750 feet of the electrical corridor, to preliminarily assess any potential for visual effects.

The five projects involve the construction of a 69 kilovolt (kV) electrical transmission corridor from Flushing to East Cambridge, in Belmont, Harrison, and Guernsey counties, Ohio. One portion is a greenfields project, as there is no existing electrical corridor in this location presently from Flushing to Smyrna. The Smyrna to East Cambridge portion is just the replacement of poles within an existing corridor. The proposed projects combined traverse approximately 32 miles of rugged terrain, which includes forests, agricultural fields, and mined areas. Additionally, the proposed project crosses a portion of Jockey Hollow, a State Wildlife Area, which involves both Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) land and land owned by Consol Energy, Inc. A total of nine archaeological sites were documented and well over 50 historic buildings. ASC made recommendations for avoidance or further work on four sites and AEP was able to avoid impacting the sites with the proposed project.

Professional Qualified Wildlife Biologists

ASC Group is pleased to announce that we now have Professional Qualified Wildlife Biologists who can conduct Wildlife Hazard Assessments (WHA) at FAA Certified Airports.

ASC personnel recently completed an FAA-approved Airport Wildlife Management training course which—when combined with other education, training, and experience—provides the necessary Professional Qualifications to undertake WHA services at General Aviation and Commercial Airports.