Arkansas is extremely rich in cultural resources and the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) has been actively involved in their identification and preservation since the 1960s. Early in the planning process, each highway project is subjected to an intensive cultural resource survey. This process involves checking a variety of documents and databases for information regarding known resources, as well as an on-the-ground survey to identify any unknown resources that might be present.
All cultural resources 50 years old or older are considered, including archeological sites, historic buildings, bridges and
landscapes. When potentially significant cultural resources are identified, avoidance is usually the preferred alternative, however data recovery or architectural documentation are other mitigation options that are also considered.
Consultation is maintained with the State Historic Preservation Officer, appropriate Native American Tribes, and other interested parties throughout the process to insure that the findings meet or exceed the requirements mandated by state and federal law. A wide variety of documentation is necessary at each stage of the process. Project Identification Forms are used for preliminary documentation of projects involving no cultural resources. Survey reports document projects where cultural resources are identified. Memorandum of Agreement document special provisions, future processes or mitigation measures.