The top 10 transportation challenges facing New Mexico

Updated Feb 26, 2015

New Mexico highway welcome sign

New Mexico’s roads, highways, and bridges are plagued by needed improvements to critical routes including inadequate capacity, deficient bridges, pavement deterioration, and inadequate safety features, according to a new report from The Road Improvement Program.

In its report “New Mexico’s Top 25 Transportation Challenges and the Improvements Needed to Address Them,” TRIP identifies the state’s top 25 transportation challenges and the needed fixes.

The top 10 challenges directly from TRIP report are:

1. Construction of US 82 as a two-lane enhanced highway in Eddy & Lea Counties

This $180 million project would construct 86 miles of four-lane roadway (including frontage roads) in Eddy and Lea Counties. This route would help accommodate the growing heavy oil field traffic in the area.

2. Reconstruction and widening of I-25 in Bernalillo County

This $26 million project would reconstruct and widen 1.6 miles of I-25 in Bernalillo County (including the existing bridges) from NM 314 to Isleta Pueblo.

3. New bridge construction on US 70 in Las Cruces

This $30 million project would include new bridge construction on US 7-0 in Las Cruces, as well as expanding the roadway to six-lanes and improving lighting, signalization and intersections. These improvements would ease the heavy congestion on this major connector between East Mesa, NASA, White Sands Missile Range and Las Cruces.

4. US 64 reconstruction in San Juan County

This $50 million project would reconstruct four miles of US 64 to enhance safety, add capacity and improve access control.

5. US 54 bridge replacement near Logan

This $25 million project would replace the Canadian River Bridge Crossing on US 54. The existing bridge has reached the end of its design life and has significant rust and corrosion. US 54 carries significant heavy truck travel and is the only direct route to Logan and Ute Lake State Park from Tucumcari. The detour route around this bridge is over 100 miles in length.

6. Rapid Transit Study along Paseo del Norte corridor in Albuquerque

This study would evaluate a Rapid Transit System, which could possibly be a Bus Rapid Transit System, along the Paseo del Norte corridor in order to link the northwestern portion of the Albuquerque metro area with the Journal Center and other activity centers east of the Rio Grande. This could help to alleviate congestion, making travel times more predictable for private automobiles as well as transit. This project could meet the region’s growing demand for river crossing trips, serve the large number of commuters, and accommodate projected population growth.

7. Reconstruction and intersection improvements to NM 136 in Dona Ana County

This $40 million project would include a full reconstruction and intersection improvements to nine miles of NM 136. This route is the only direct connection between Santa Teresa Port of Entry and I-10. The improvements are needed to accommodate industrial and commercial growth in the area.

8. Reconstruction of I-25/Rio Bravo Interchange in Albuquerque

This $37 million project would reconstruct the I-25/Rio Bravo Interchange in Albuquerque to address deterioration and relieve traffic congestion by improving the efficiency of the interchange.

9. Development of Santa Fe Transit Center

This project would construct a multi-modal center for the southern hub of the Santa Fe Trails Transit System in Santa Fe, which carries more than 1,000,000 riders annually. As the metro area continues to grow to the south and west, the transit center would create a formal multi-modal center that is positioned to connect important transit routes to the south and north.

10. Bus Rapid Transit Study along Central Avenue in Albuquerque

This project would provide a combination of dedicated busway and mixed flow lanes within the current right-of-way on the Central Corridor from I-40 and Tramway Boulevard to I-40 and Artisco Vista. This corridor is a key connector of transit destinations.

The remaining 15 of the 25 top challenges for New Mexico’s transportation system are available in the report’s Appendix.