River Fields, Inc. v. Mary Peters

2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63620 (2009)

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River Fields, Inc. v. Mary Peters

United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63620 (2009)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

River Fields, Inc. (River) (plaintiff) brought an action against the secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (secretary) (defendant) regarding an approved project to widen the historic, one-lane Harrods Creek Bridge to two lanes. The bridge had two-lane approaches at both ends. River asserted that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) violated § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act by approving the project based on a programmatic § 4(f) evaluation that did not apply and by failing to prepare an individual § 4(f) evaluation. For certain minor uses of historic property, the FHWA had adopted several programmatic § 4(f) evaluations as a time-saving alternative procedure to preparing individual § 4(f) evaluations. The FHWA used the historic-bridges programmatic § 4(f) evaluation for the Harrods Creek Bridge project. Rivers had identified an alternative plan for the project that would preserve the one-lane structure of the bridge and use traffic-control devices to achieve an acceptable level of public safety. The FHWA had rejected River’s one-lane bridge alternative, concluding it was not the alternative that would best improve safety. The secretary issued a safety report stating that the use of standard traffic-control devices could improve safety on the bridge and was the best solution short of reconstruction. The safety report also included data showing that one-lane bridges with an approach wider than the bridge created a potentially hazardous condition for motorists.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Simpson, J.)

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