Final Report (Public Version): Underwater Archeological Monitoring at Site 41OR90 for Construction of the I-10 Neches River Bridge


Underwater archeologists from AmaTerra Environmental, Inc. and SEARCH, Inc. (the Team) conducted underwater archeological monitoring of Site 41OR90 on behalf of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the Interstate Highway 10 Neches River Bridge Construction Project (TxDOT CSJ 0028-09-111). Site 41OR90 is a submerged World War I, Emergency Fleet Corporation vessel in the Neches river at Beaumont, Texas. It is considered eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and as a State Antiquities Landmark (SAL).

The bridge modification project is under the purview of the Federal Highway Administration, and as such, field investigations were completed to meet requirements stipulated in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (Section 106). The project additionally lies in Texas state public waters, so the work must comply with the state statue and rules presented in the Antiquities Code of Texas (Natural Resource Code, Title 9, Chapter 191 [ACT]) and the Administrative Code of Texas (Part 2, Title 13, Chapters 26 and 28).

A portion of the shipwreck lies directly adjacent to the construction project’s Area of Potential Effects (APE). TxDOT and THC defined a 2.2-acre area surrounding the site as the construction Avoidance Zone. The Avoidance Zone was part of the avoidance and monitoring plan coordinated between TxDOT and the Texas Historical Commission. Field investigations conducted by the Team under Antiquities Permit No. 6031 included pre- and post- construction site assessments and four emergency site visits in response to a potential Avoidance Zone breach and unanticipated boundary buoy positioning and repositioning. Fieldwork was conducted during six intervals: August 22–25, 2011; September 22–24, 2011; November 6–8, 2012; December 2 and 13, 2013, September 6–9, 2016; and January 22–24,

2020. Each field visit included sector-scan sonar sweeps from numerous points surrounding the wreck. In addition, archeological monitors collected high-resolution, side-scan sonar imagery during each field deployment beginning in 2012. For the post-construction assessment, the Team additionally used a Teledyne BlueView multibeam scanning sonar for digital three-dimensional point-cloud data collection.

Over the nearly nine-year-long monitoring project, field assessments demonstrate that IH-10 Bridge construction has resulted in no direct, indirect, or cumulative adverse effects to Site 41OR90. Significant evidence of natural environmental impacts was observed during the post-construction assessment. These are potentially the result of increasing instances of severe flooding - most notably 2017’s Hurricane Harvey. If left unaddressed, observed riverbed scouring at the vessel’s port side and sediment infilling within the hull may structurally-stress the ship over time and could eventually cause substantial damage. Project-generated digital data will be permanently curated at Texas State University’s Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS) in San Marcos and online at the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR).

Cite this Record

Final Report (Public Version): Underwater Archeological Monitoring at Site 41OR90 for Construction of the I-10 Neches River Bridge, 187. Mason Miller, Sara M. Parkin, Joseph J. Grinnan, Jeffrey M. Enright, Aaron Norment. 2020 ( tDAR id: 458736) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8458736

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1917 to 1925 (Earliest year of ship construction to year the ship sank in fire.)

Calendar Date: 1917 to 1918 (Emergency Fleet Corporation Shipbuilding (period of ship construction))

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.109; min lat: 30.086 ; max long: -94.081; max lat: 30.111 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Field Director(s): Joseph Grinnan

Principal Investigator(s): Jeff Enright

Project Director(s): Mason Miller

Sponsor(s): Jason Barrett; Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

Prepared By(s): AmaTerra Environmental, Inc.

Record Identifiers

AmaTerra Project Number(s): 062-115

CSJ(s): 002809111

Texas Antiquities Permit Number(s): 6031

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
41OR90-Monitoring-Final-Report.pdf 20.50mb Dec 1, 2020 Feb 2, 2021 3:47:37 PM Public
Public Distribution version of Final Underwater Archeological Monitoring Report (Reduced Resolution)
Final-Text-Report-for-Printer-PV-41OR90-w-cover.pdf 307.32mb Feb 2, 2021 3:53:20 PM Public
Public Distribution version of Final Underwater Archeological Monitoring Report (Full Resolution)