Pavement work on nearly 15 miles on U.S. Highway 285 in Eddy County cost the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) nearly $6 million, according to a department engineer.
Francisco Sanchez, NMDOT District 2 engineer from Roswell, said pavement and preservation projects across southeast New Mexico were major priorities for the department.
“The two projects that were done between Artesia and Roswell, one was funded internally through or district contract maintenance budget that we get annually and the other was done through our legislative partners of state funded money that was received from the (New Mexico) general fund,” he said.
Sanchez said pavement work on U.S. 285 was not limited to northern Eddy County.
“Our No. 1 priority for a long time that we’re finally getting to fruition is improving a major section of U.S. 285 from the (Texas) state line to Loving,” he said.
Sanchez said phase two construction on nearly 10 miles would start either this month or in January.
“That’s a full reconstruction, new pavement, road widening and passing lanes. Estimated cost for that was $48 million,” he said. “That’s a major infrastructure improvement for Southeast New Mexico.”
Sanchez said NMDOT bid solicitations for phase three work around the Village of Loving would start in January.
“That section would be a reconstruction to a four-lane (highway) and in Loving we’re going to widen it and bring in safety enhancements,” he said.
Sanchez said estimated cost for work around Loving was $38 million.
NM128 and 31 in design-build phase
Proposal reviews received by NMDOT for major work on New Mexico 128 and New Mexico 31 might happen this month, Sanchez said.
Work on the road south of Carlsbad was slated to begin in 2023, Sanchez indicated.
“There is still some preliminary engineering work to be done. Surveying and a lot of the utility identifications and so we’re trying to get that all completed before we award the contract,” he said.
“Once we award the contract, there are basically constructing while designing at the same time. We definitely want to do all the preliminary engineering up front.”
Estimated cost of the project was $380 million, according to Sanchez.
“Right now, our, design build contract that we’re working on is going to have a base bid of $80 million. Which would be the reconstruction of New Mexico 31 from mile marker 0 to 8, which would encompass the reconstruction at the intersection of 128 and 31,” he said.
Southeast Loop Road heads to next phase
Part one of a multi-phase southeast loop road near Carlsbad wrapped up around Thanksgiving, said Eddy County Community Services Director Wesley Hooper.
He said a final pavement coating from the old U.S. Refinery Road to the new U.S. Refinery Road was set for phase two along with some turnouts.
“Along with about 4.5 miles of reconstruction further south,” he said.
Hooper said phase two construction bids were scheduled for solicitation later this month.
“Phase three will be on the heels of that. We’ll probably bid that out two months after the bid comes out on phase two. Phase three should get us within 550 foot of New Mexico 31,” he said.
The nearly 13-mile loop road connects U.S. 285 with U.S. Highway 62/180
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.