Mesa Verde National Park Mesa Top Loop Roads Improvement FONSI Signed

On August 13, 2020, Mike Reynolds, the Regional Director for the National Park Service Regional Office Serving Department of Interior Regions 6, 7, and 8, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for an environmental assessment (EA) for improvements to the Mesa Top Loop roads in Mesa Verde National Park. After consideration of the environmental assessment and public, tribal, and agency comments, the finding concludes that the project will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) is not required.

The National Park Service (NPS) considered three alternatives in the EA. Alternative C, the approved action, will resurface, restore, and rehabilitate the Mesa Top Loop, Sun Temple Loop, and Cliff Palace Loop roads. All worn and failing road surfaces, including associated parking lots, will be repaired. These roads will be widened to a consistent width and the superelevations reconstructed to meet Park Road Standards, The two-way sections of Mesa Top Loop and Sun Temple Loop roads will be widened to provide 4-foot wide shoulders on both sides of the travel lanes that also serve as bike lanes.

Existing asphalt sidewalks along Mesa Top Loop, Cliff Palace Loop, and Sun Temple Loop roads will be replaced with colored concrete sidewalks, curbs, and ramps compliant with the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA). Existing asphalt pavement at the overlooks will also be replaced with colored concrete pavement. A new accessible route with ramp will be constructed at Sun Point Overlook on Mesa Top Loop Road adjacent to the existing sidewalk. The existing juniper shade structure above Balcony House will be removed during construction of the sidewalk, and a new shade structure will be constructed.

The previously developed portion of the infield (a gravel parking lot used by park and concessioner staff) on the Headquarters Loop Road will be converted to a parking area that will be open to the public and accommodate approximately 60 vehicles to serve as overflow parking during periods of high visitation. An accessible trail will be constructed connecting this parking area to the Headquarters Loop parking area.

The existing off-set four-way intersection at the park entrance, Visitor and Research Center (VRC), and water treatment plant access road will be improved with a roundabout.

Construction will occur daily for about 12 months during day light hours except at the park entrance where night work will be allowed to construct the roundabout. Following construction, areas that were temporarily disturbed during construction will be recontoured, revegetated and treated to control non-native plant species.

Alternative C was selected because it best meets the project purpose to rehabilitate the Cliff Palace Loop, Mesa Top Loop, and Sun Temple Loop roads to ensure that visitor overlooks, parking lots, and roads at the park continue to provide visitors safe, reliable access and a broad range of recreational opportunities.

Thank you for your interest and comments throughout the project planning process. Depending upon funding, the NPS plans to implement the action in the spring of 2021. Although public comments are not solicited on this decision document, the FONSI may be viewed by clicking the link at the bottom of this page and the EA may be viewed from the "Documents List" link at the left of this page.
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