The NMDOT is proposing improvements to New Mexico Highway 118 (NM 118) from Rehoboth Drive (milepost 26.7) to NM Highway 566 (milepost 30), near Gallup in McKinley County, New Mexico. The project identified as Control Number 6101290 for design and Control Number 6101291 for construction is sponsored by the NMDOT in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration.
NM 118 is an east-west corridor providing local access to the City of Gallup and the Navajo communities of Rehoboth and Church Rock. The roadway is classified as a principal arterial and acts as an auxiliary road for Interstate 40 in the area. The NM 118 right-of-way is owned by the NMDOT at the east and west ends while the central portion of the project area is an easement on Navajo Nation land. Additionally, the far eastern edge of the project area was previously owned by the Department of Defense, Fort Wingate Military Base, but the land has since been deeded to the Navajo Nation.
The length of the project area is developed and supports industries such as oil, commercial businesses like the Fire Rock Casino, and other establishments such as the Navajo Tech Innovation Center. Additionally, NM 118 runs parallel to Interstate 40 and acts as a frontage road. This section of NM 118 serves as an access corridor to residential communities like Church Rock, Rehobeth, and private residences on the Navajo Nation. The highway connects these smaller communities to the larger city of Gallup. Some recreational activites exist in the immediate vicinity of NM 118, including Red Rock State Park, Pyramid Rock, and Navajo Church Peak. The alignment of NM 118 also coincides with the historic alignment of Route 66, and experiences tourism and visitation by Route 66 enthusiasts.
Purpose and Need
The purpose of the project is to improve driver safety and enhance access to local businesses and facilities. The project need is based on insufficient shoulders, turn lanes, and the lack of intersection lighting throughout the project area, as well as limited visibility at the Sundance Road/NM 118 intersection. The wing walls of the Interstate 40 underpass at Sundance Road has overgrown vegetation in the area, which creates a sight-distance deficiency for the posted speed limit. The existing NM 118 shoulders vary from 0 to 8 feet in width and are paved in portions and composed gravel in other areas. In addition, the existing pavement is in poor condition and a number of turn lanes are insufficient.
Throughout the design development process, the Design Team has been engaged with local stakeholders and governing bodies such as McKinley County and the Navajo Nation Church Rock Chapter. The Design Team has also met regularly with representatives of the Navajo Nation DOT, the Casino, the C-Store, and the Navajo Nation Economic Development Agency to coordinate project details.
This webpage served as a platform for a Virtual Open House to share project information and materials on a summary level for public review. Outreach requesting public input included over 2,000 informational flyers that were mailed in the surrounding zip codes, social media posts, press releases, and newspaper advertisements.
We greatly appreciated your participation! The comment period ended on February 28, 2022. We will provide updates as the project progresses.
What is Planned for this Project?
The project will include the reconstruction of the roadway, addition of turn lanes, paved shoulders, street lighting, vegetation management, extension of drainage structures, and other improvements.
Final design for the NM 118 Safety Improvement Project is close to completion and will be coordinated with an adjacent project (Control number 6100671) involving the replacement of the Church Rock bridge over the railroad. Construction for this project is anticipated in 2025, after construction has been completed for the Church Rock bridge replacement project.
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Road Safety Audit, November 2016
Information Flyer, January 2022
- Provide turn and acceleration/deceleration lanes for NM 118 at the locations identified below. Each turn lane will have sufficient length for deceleration and storage.
• An eastbound right-turn/deceleration lane onto Rehoboth Drive and provide roadway lighting at this intersection;
• An eastbound right-turn/deceleration lane at Sundance Drive;
• An eastbound left-turn/deceleration lane to the driveway to the Navajo Tech Innovation Center;
• An eastbound left-turn/deceleration lane onto NM 566;
• A westbound right-turn/deceleration lane onto NM 566; and
• A westbound acceleration lane from the proposed Convenience Store (C-Store) driveway to allow traffic to safely merge.
- Build 9-ft shoulders throughout the project area. This work will include drainage improvements such as culvert extensions and grading. The shoulders will also provide the added benefit of a safe space for pedestrian and bicycle travel within the corridor.
- Install barrier curb-and-gutter or guardrail on the north side of NM 118 along the entire Casino frontage to better define access to the Casino.
- Implement vegetation mitigation measures such as asphalt or concrete slope pavement at the north side of the Sundance Road concrete box culvert (CBC) underpass of I-40. This will improve intersection sight distance. Based on an assessment of intersection sight distance, additional measures such as reconstructing the entire CBC wingwall were determined to be unnecessary.
- Install roadway lighting at the Rehoboth/NM 118 intersection and along the 1.63 miles between the McKinley County Line (MP 28.00) and NM 566 junction.
- Widen NM 118 in the area of the Sundance Drive intersection. This area will require a minor widening to the north to accommodate installation of the west bound shoulder and the Sundance right-turn lane. This widening will be accomplished within the existing right-of-way.
- Reconstruction of the mainline pavement at the existing two-lane section of the roadway from east of El Paso Circle to the EOP.
Public Event – Virtual Open House
Final Design to be Completed
Anticipated Start of Construction