Eddy County’s Public Works Department spent around $45 million for road projects last fiscal year in all sections of the county, said Director Jason Burns.
“We’ve really put an effort and really pushed forward, and we make sure we get these done,” he said as the 2020/2021 fiscal year concluded Wednesday.
One of the projects undertaken by the Public Works Department was connecting two major highways in southern Eddy County.
“We’ve completed Derrick (Road) from Old Cavern (Highway) to Black River Village (Road). We completed Black River Village all the way from (U.S. Highway) 285 to U.S. 62/180 all the way through with a paving project and Eddy County chip seal project,” Burns said.
“Black River is going to be a good corridor to connect the two major highways that go through Carlsbad.”
Burns said work on 22 miles of Illinois Camp Road near Artesia was needed as it connects United States highway 82 with the George Shoup Relief Route north of Carlsbad.
Another road project in the Artesia area would benefit Eddy County Fair goers in late July, according to Burns.
A stretch of South 13th Street near the Eddy County Fairgrounds was maintained, and chip sealed for a smoother surface, he said.
Burns said some projects from the previous fiscal year carried over to 2021/2022, which started Thursday.
“U.S. Refinery (Road) is progressing steadily, the construction is underway. I know they’ve been working on concrete and grading,” he said.
Burns said U.S. Refinery Road work is a multi-phase project and plans for the second phase are in the works.
Constructors Inc. is the contractor for the U.S. Refinery Road project.
Another carryover is the West Loop Road around Carlsbad. Burns said ground was broken in early June where Hidalgo Road will intersect with the West Loop Road.
“We are proceeding with the design on the north and south ends of it and we’re looking forward to getting that construction on both ends of that going hopefully in August,” he said.
Estimated cost of the West Loop project is $8 million. The road was estimated at six miles, with two miles crossing into the Carlsbad City Limits.
The City of Carlsbad is paying around $3 million to help Eddy County with the work.
Burns said talks are ongoing with the Bureau of Land Management for rights of way on West Loop Road.
He said work on the West Loop Road will be the top project this fiscal year.
“This is going to be my predominant focus to get through and get it completed next year,” Burns said.
Burns said funding for road projects in Eddy County for the 2022 fiscal year was $17 million.
“Last year the (Eddy County Board of County) Commissioners dedicated more funding towards roads due to (their) condition. We also had New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) funding,” he said.
DOT commits $118M to other Eddy County road projects
Two major New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT) projects in Eddy County continued, according to a spokesperson for DOT’s District 2 Roswell office.
Manon Arnett said a $58 million reconstruction project along U.S.Highway 82 from Artesia to Maljamar, should wrap up in the fall.
She said the 32-mile project started in 2017.
“This work included reconstruction, widening driving lanes and shoulders, and new intersections,” she said.
Arnett said DOT invested $60 million for work along U.S Highway 285 near Loving.
“The reconstruction work is taking place from mile markers 0 to 7 and mile markers 16 to 17,” she said.
Arnett said the sections of U.S. 285 are vital transportation arteries in southeast New Mexico.
“That connects communities across the region and serves a large traffic pool associated with oil and gas,” she said.
Arnett said minor work was taking place on U.S. 285 in northern Eddy County.
“DOT is fog sealing a portion of U.S. 285 near Artesia. This process helps preserve the road by keeping water out which help prevent cracks on the road. This work should be complete within two weeks, weather permitting,” she said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.