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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Summer 2002 arrow New Mexico: Widening of US 70 Highway, Lincoln County
Case Update:
New Mexico: Widening of US 70 Highway, Lincoln County

Agency: Federal Highway Administration
As reported in the Spring 2002 Case Digest, local groups were concerned that the proposed widening of a highway in Lincoln County, New Mexico, would threaten properties in Hondo Valley that are eligible for the National Register, including archeological sites, historic districts, and cultural landscapes.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and New Mexico State Historic Preservation Officer (NMSHPO) determined that the project would not threaten the properties. ACHP noted, however, that the process for reviewing the undertaking was flawed, and FHWA drafted a new agreement with the project’s consulting parties.

In May 2002, ACHP met with FHWA, NMSHPO, the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department (NMSHTD), local residents, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. The meeting focused on the first draft of the agreement and resulted in numerous suggestions for a second draft, which was signed by ACHP in July 2002.

Aerial view of US 70, Lincoln County, New Mexico

 

 

US 70, Lincoln County, NM
(photo courtesy of Parsons Brinckerhoff)

 

 

 

 

 

Since FHWA and NMSHTD will use a design/build method of construction for the proposed widening of US 70, the agreement outlines a detailed review process that corresponds to each of the design and construction phases of the project.

In general, the agreement affirms FHWA’s commitment that avoidance and minimization of adverse effects to historic properties will be the preferred course of action as plans for the roadway are refined in the design/build process.

Specifically, the agreement establishes a Cultural Resources Task Force made up of the agreement’s signatories, including concurring parties and local property owners, that will participate in all aspects of the project’s review including the Construction Oversight and Environmental Monitoring Program set up by the agreement.

The agreement also provides for specific mitigation measures for individual properties, such as vegetative screening, and a public outreach and education program under which NMSHTD will work with local Hondo Valley schools to view archeological materials recovered from area sites.

Finally, the agreement provides a mechanism for ongoing consultation and resolution of disagreements that may develop among affected property owners and the agreement’s signatories.

For background information on this case, see the Spring 2002 Case Digest at www.achp.gov/casesspg02NM.html.

Staff contact: Jane Crisler


Posted August 8, 2002

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