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Jicarilla Apache Nation

Program Administration and Staffing

The Jicarilla Apache Nation contracts their roads program from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The Nation has a staff that consists of a Supervisory Civil Engineer, Design Engineer, 2 full time surveyors, a materials lab technician, secretary, budget, and 2 full-time civil engineering technicians. In addition, a full-time maintenance staff works on maintenance and construction projects. Three Councilmen serve as the Roads Committee for the Jicarilla Nation.

While it is a priority for the Nation to staff the Roads Department and employ tribal members, it is also a challenge to schedule projects that keep staff employed fulltime.

The transportation budget is approximately $2.25 million for construction and $300,000 for maintenance. The Nation maintains about 700 miles of BIA and tribal roadway that is on the inventory. There are also state and US highways that run through the reservation.

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Transportation System

The transportation system on the Jicarilla reservation consists of BIA and tribal roads and state highways 64 and 537. US 550 is a NHS route that runs through the southern portion of the reservation.

photo of BIL Road J-16
BIA Road J-16 at SH 537

In Dulce, there are paved and dirt streets in residential areas and a bike and pedestrian path project that has recently been completedusing federal Enhancement Funds. The bike path runs adjacent to an area that will be developed into a park in the future.

photo of a dirt road
Dirt Road in Residential Area - to be paved

photo of BIA road J-8
BIA Road J-8 in Dulce

J-8 is a primary north-south route on the reservation. It has two full width lanes and shoulders.

photo of a bike path
New Bike Path Project in Dulce

The bike path is 10 feet wide and is part of the tribes overall transportation plan.

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Construction Projects

The Jicarilla Nation has several projects underway currently. Projects consist of crack sealing and chip sealing projects. The tribe contracts construction work and also has a work force of tribal members.

photo of a road being paved
Crack Sealing Project - Jicarilla Nation Workers

photo of construction equipment
Repair work on J-2 River Road by Jicarilla Nation Crew

photo of J-2 River Road
Base Repair for J-2 River Road Chip Seal Project

BIA Road J-2 goes north out of Dulce to the river and water pumping station.

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Planning and Proposed Projects

The Nation currently has plans for an intersection signalization project at US 64 and Hawk Road in Dulce. The intersection is considered a hazard by the tribe. The project will be designed by the New Mexico DOT and constructed with IRR funds. This intersection is the main commercial area of Dulce. A hotel and casino, gas station, and shopping center occupy three of the four quadrants.

photo of a four way intersection
SH 64 and Hawk Road

The Nation also has plans to reconfigure the intersection at US 64 and BIA road J9. Currently the intersection is offset and the plan is to make the intersection a four-way intersection. The New Mexico DOT will design and build this project to reconfigure the intersection. The project is in the current STIP.

photo of an intersection
SH 64 and BIA Road J9 Intersection

BIA Road J-9 runs west from Dulce. US 64 is an east-west route through Northern New Mexico that extends from the Arizona to Oklahoma borders. South of Dulce US 64 connects with NM 537 that continues south through the reservation to US 550.

There are also plans to extend the bike and pedestrian path to a new housing development and new elementary school. The original project was completed as a Transportation Enhancement (TE) project. The Nation coordinated the planning through the Northern Pueblo RPO.

The tribal road engineer indicated that more attention to comprehensive planning is needed to coordinate road projects with housing and other development.

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Coordination with FHWA

The Nation has worked in the past with FHWA and received Public Lands Discretionary funds for State Highway 537. NM 537 goes through the reservation from south of Dulce to US 550. The project has been constructed in segments over the last several years. The tribe is seeking funding to complete that remaining miles.

photo of a two lane road

photo of a two lane road
State Highway 537

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Other Modes

There is an airport on the reservation. The airport is used for emergency medical services and during forest fires. BIA Road J-8 goes to Dulce to the airport.

photo of a two lane road at an airport
Airport Entrance Road

photo of a two lane road
J8 Road to Airport

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Inventory and Asset Management

The Jicarilla Nation is currently conducting traffic counts for roadways as part of the update to their IRR Inventory.

photo of a two lane road by a parking lot
Traffic Counter on BIA Road J-9

The Nation also has GIS and photo inventory of signing and guardrail. There are sections of substandard guardrail that has been identified. The inventory will be used to identify and prioritize sections to be replaced.

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Best Practices Identified

Jicarilla Nation has several cooperative projects with the NM DOT that have resulted from participation in the RPO process. Projects include the bike path Transportation Enhancement (TE) project, the US 64/Hawk road state designed, tribally constructed project that is planned, and the US 64/J-9 intersection reconfiguration project that is on the STIP.

The tribes indicated that they worked with the RPO for the TE project and have a good working relationship with the NM DOT District staff.

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Tribal Issues and Needs

The tribe contracts the transportation program under Public Law 93-638. The tribe feels there is excessive contract administration involved in this process and would like to see a mechanism to compact the roads program with FHWA.

The roads engineer indicated that the tribe would like to see more partnering with BIA under the current 638 contract. There have been issues in the past on project funding and oversight that the tribe is working to correct. The tribe thinks a partnering approach would be an effective means to a satisfactory solution.

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To provide Feedback, Suggestions or Comments for this page contact Tim Penney at tim.penney@dot.gov.