Study Process

The US 60 MP 203 TO 205 Alignment Study process follows the guidelines set forth in the NMDOT’s Location Study Procedures 2015. The Guidebook outlines three phases of a corridor study:

  • Phase A—Initial Evaluation of Alternatives

  • Phase B—Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives

  • Phase C—Environmental Documentation and Processing

The Study Team has combined the Phase A and Phase B evaluation of alternatives.

 

This report identifies 6 “Build” alternatives and a “No Build” alternative for comparison. This Phase I-A/B report also identifies the recommended alternative by evaluating each alternative in its ability to achieve the purpose and need of the project and impacts on the community and environment. 

A Context Sensitive Public Involvement Plan (CSPIP) has been prepared to establish a structural decision-making process for problem definition. The Plan identifies strategies for making effective decisions, incorporating community input and environmental sensitivity, and ensuring safe and feasible solutions that address the project needs. The Plan includes a comprehensive public involvement plan (PIP), which is intended to ensure opportunities for meaningful input into the design process and for the Study Team to respond to concerns and suggestions.

 

Once the Phase I-A/B study is completed and a preferred alternative(s) is determined, Phase I-C of the study process; the environmental documentation for the project, can begin. It is assumed that the environmental documentation for this project will be a Categorical Exclusion (CE). This document will be circulated and reviewed by interested agencies, stakeholders, and the general public. Environmental concerns will be addressed as appropriate and mitigation measures developed to minimize impacts. The last step of Phase I-C will be FHWA approval of the CE.  This approval by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will provide authorization for the release of federal funds for final design, Right-of-Way (R/W) acquisition, and construction of the project.

Public Involvement Plan

To provide a unified approach to public involvement and context sensitive solutions, a Context Sensitive Public Involvement Plan (CSPIP) was prepared by Ecosphere Environmental Services for the US 60 MP 203 TO 205 corridor study. The CSPIP combines the public involvement and context sensitive solutions plan mandated by NMDOT and FHWA regulations. It involves solicitation of input to help identify the need for the project, alternative design concepts, and issues of concern.

The goals of the CSPIP for the Study are:

  1. To establish the Study context and identify major community values;

  2. To identify the Study stakeholders, the methods to inform and involve them, and the approaches to resolve issues, concerns, and conflicts that may arise; and

  3. To develop a decision-making process that is sensitive to the Study context, involves stakeholders in a meaningful way, and leads to the development of a preferred alternative that is consistent with the transportation, environmental, cultural, community, land use, and economic contexts of the Study area.

First Public Information Meeting

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) held the first public information meeting for the US 60 Alignment Study on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. The meeting was held at the Dr. Saul Community Center located at 109 N Roosevelt Ave, Mountainair, NM 87036. 45 people signed in at the registration table. Representatives from the Project Team, including the NMDOT, and the consultant team, were also present. In addition to the Project Team, the Mountainair Town Council and Mayor were in attendance.

The purpose of the meeting was to:

  • Present and discuss the findings of the initial analyses of the project

  • Present the project purpose and need

  • Solicit comments from stakeholders and the public relating to project issues of importance and areas of concern

The meeting format included a presentation by project team representatives, a question and answer period, and an open house session where individuals could review display materials and talk to project team representatives.  The presentation began at 6:00 pm and covered the following topics:

  • Introduction and Existing Conditions

  • Project Purpose and Need

  • Project Study Process

  • Public Involvement and the Next Steps

A question and answer period followed the presentation. Following this, meeting attendees were invited to review display boards of the corridor and discuss them and the project with Project Team members.

Key Issues Identified by Stakeholders are Summarized

  • Rejection of parallel parking

  • Moderate support for roundabouts but strong concern about large wind turbine blade transport maneuver

  • Moderate to high support for back-in-angled parking

  • Moderate support for bike lanes

  • Moderate to high support for curb extensions/bulb-outs and crosswalks

Second Virtual Information Meeting

Due to the COVID 19 Pandemic the NMDOT initiated the current virtual public involvement activities of which this website is a part. For a more detailed account of the information notated here, please see the Project Presentation section.

Agency Coordination

The involvement of resource agencies, local jurisdictions, roadway users, community residents, and others having an interest in the roadway and project area was used to identify issues of interest and concern to stakeholders and to develop, evaluate, and refine project alternatives.  Stakeholder agencies with jurisdictional authority over the infrastructure and/or land use within the project area were identified and are listed below.

  • Town of Mountainair

To date, coordination with stakeholder agencies has primarily consisted of attendance at Town Council Meetings and letters describing the intent to complete a transportation study and soliciting agency concerns.  Additional follow-up discussions have been held as needed.  Most of the outreach during the early study phase has been with the Bureau of Land Management.  They had representatives at the first public meeting and expressed concern with the status of right-of-way easements through their property and with the NEPA level of effort.  Discussions concerning these topics are on-going.