The US 64 MP 160.70 to 161.70 & NM 17 MP 0.00 to 1.75 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 I-A: Initial Evaluation of Alternatives
• Phase I-B: Detailed Evaluation of Alternatives
• Phase I-C: Environmental Documentation and Processing
The Study Team has combined the Phase A and Phase B evaluation of alternatives.
The report will identify several alternatives and a “No Build” alternative for comparison. The Phase I-A/B report will also identify recommended alternatives, evaluating each alternative and 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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval of the CE. This approval by (FHWA) will provide authorization for the release of federal funds for final design, Right-of-Way (R/W) acquisition, and construction of the project.