NMDOT Received $59 Million Grant from USDOT To Help Meet Rural Transportation and Mobility Needs in San Juan County

Dec 29, 2023 | Press Release

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), in partnership with the Navajo Nation and the Navajo Department of Transportation, is pleased to announce that the NMDOT received a $59 million Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to rehabilitate a section of US 64. This is a rural highway corridor located in the extreme northwest corner of the state, located entirely within the traditional lands of the multi-state Navajo Nation.

The Improving Tribal Highway Mobility and Safety (ITHMAS) project will encompass bridge replacements, drainage improvements, fiber optic conduit and cabling installation, the replacement of corrugated metal culverts, and the pavement rehabilitation of approximately 21 miles of rural highway will enhance the mobility for local Navajo communities which this section of US 64 serves as the central conduit of accessibility. The improvements will create a diversified basket of economic benefits for users of the US 64 corridor, particularly those who rely on it for their everyday mobility to travel to school, jobs, medical treatment, shopping and more.

This is one of 18 projects, totaling $645.3 million across the United States, designed to help rural communities complete transportation projects that will increase mobility, improve safety, and generate regional economic growth.

“This project is long overdue; I am glad to hear we received this grant,” said Representative Anthony Allision. He continued, “The impact it will have on the community is invaluable. The improved quality of life for residents in rural locations and investment in critical infrastructure will increase the mobility and safety of anyone utilizing this corridor.  I am glad that the significant bumps and dips in this stretch of road will be addressed, shoulders will be added to increase safety, and the improvements will directly impact the school buses loaded with children that travel this road daily.”  Representative Allison noted his continued commitment to these enhancements, highlighting that he has advocated for these improvements since 2019. 

Applications were evaluated based on multiple criteria, including project readiness, cost-effectiveness, and whether the project supported critical goals like enhancing safety, increasing mobility and reliability, improving resiliency, and restoring infrastructure to a state of good repair. Rural roads face a disproportionally high rate of fatalities, and a significant proportion of rural roads and bridges are in poor condition.

The ITHMAS project was previously awarded a $25 million RAISE grant award in 2021 which will be applied to the first of the five geographical components of the Project.

Project Segmentation

There are three main facets of construction works that are proposed in the ITHMAS project.

  • Widening and rehabilitation of US 64 corridor. T The road width will be increased to twelve-foot lanes in each direction, outside rumble strips and five to eight-foot paved shoulders, recycling of existing materials to provide an improved sub-base, asphalt overlay, and improved bus pull outs. Further works will include the provision of additional safety elements around the Navajo Nation Chapter Houses including improved lighting, pedestrian crossing, and turn lanes.
  • The replacement of four bridges along the US 64 corridor. The new bridges will have six to eight-foot shoulders, making them consistent with the rest of the corridor. The four bridges currently have no shoulders. An additional twenty-five-foot multiplate structure will be replaced.
  • Reconstruction of approximately fifty of the 103 corrugated metal culverts along the corridor to improved drainage.