Construction and planning on a road project in south Carlsbad continued with hopes of completion in fall of 2022, said Community and Administration Services Director Wesley Hooper.
Hooper said estimated cost of a 13 mile Southeast Loop Road connecting U.S. Highway 285 to U.S. Highway 62/180 was $30 million.
Phase one of construction was ongoing, Hooper said, of the project which partnered the County with the State of New Mexico and the City of Carlsbad.
“That phase was supposed to be complete by August. But with all the weather, it looks like mid-September at this point,” he said of the anticipated end date.
Hooper said phase one construction included work at the intersection of U.S. 62/180 and the George Shoup Relief Route and tying in with Old Refinery Road.
“So that is a whole new road,” he said.
Constructors Inc. of Carlsbad was awarded the construction contract from Eddy County for phase one.
He said work on phase two was scheduled to go to bid in September.
“Phase two will be 4 ½ miles down Old Refinery. Right now I believe there is a 70 foot right of way for Old Refinery that is going to be expanded to a 120 foot right of way, which will widen the driving lanes and add a shoulder and better the storm water flow,” Hooper said.
He said the design of the project was 100 percent when work started. As time moved on, Hooper said revisions were made.
“That’s what phase two is in right now. Just updating the plans from what we had and then making sure what we had the right of ways in place, because they were increased to 120 foot,” he said.
Hooper said work was scheduled to begin in December to be completed by March as funding was in place to complete phase two.
New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) District 2 spokesperson Manon Arnett said Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation appropriating $1.5 million for phase two construction.
“DOT’s mission is to provide a safe and efficient transportation system for the traveling public while promoting economic development and preserving the environment of New Mexico,” she said.
Arnett said the additional funding would help improve safety, enhance the current highways and alleviate congestion.
“DOT District 2 is proud to serve the community and would like to thank Carlsbad and Eddy County for their efforts and commitment to safety,” she said.
With phase one construction underway and phase two being plans complete, Hooper said planning was ongoing for phase three as a grant application was sent to the State.
“We didn’t want to just put an application for $6 million and it would be too much. So, we broke phase three into three (other) phases,” Hooper said.
The first phase cost $2 million, the second phase cost $4 million, and the third phase was estimated at $6 million, according to Hooper.
“I know we’re going to receive some funding for it. I’m hoping we receive the whole funding. They should award those in the next three weeks,” he said.
He said work on phase three and phase four could overlap as the City of Carlsbad set aside $1 million and offered to help with traffic signals at U.S. 62/180 and the George Shoup Relief Route.
Hooper said phase four of the project would target the intersection at Old Refinery Road and N.M. Road 31. He said there is a possible partnership with the State for a roundabout at the intersection.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said construction of the Southeast Loop Road was overdue and greatly needed.
“Completion of a loop road will both allow our community to grow and protect the safety of our citizens by moving large trucks away from residential areas. We’re proud to be working with the county on this project,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.