Special Project: Los Lunas I-25 Interchange and East-West Corridor
The Village of Los Lunas got the green light to proceed with the plan to build the I-25 Interchange/East-West Corridor project, which has been in the works for two decades. The New Mexico Department of Transportation recently announced $55 million has been approved—$10 million from the 2019 New Mexico Legislative Session, and $45 million from the New Mexico Department of Transportation—for Phase 1 of the $90 million infrastructure project designed to bring much-needed relief to area traffic congestion.
“It’s been a long road, but we’re thrilled to get the funding,” said Mayor Charles Griego.
With local officials celebrating the news, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham added support, saying, “The Village of Los Lunas and Valencia County are an important part of the regional transportation network and economy. It’s especially critical to keep our highways and bridge crossings safe, up-to-date, and without unnecessary delays. This investment is going to have a measurable impact on generations to come.”
Valencia County continues to see its population growth exceeding 80,000 residents. Forecasts show future growth leading to widespread regional transportation challenges. In recent years, area residents have experienced more traffic pinch points, leading to more accidents, delays, and infrastructure issues along area roadways.
“Anyone who has traveled our roads knows wasted time in traffic and safety concerns have taken their toll on area drivers. Moving this project forward will improve the quality of life for everyone in Los Lunas and across Valencia County, and we are extremely grateful for the involvement and support we have received by all of our partners and stakeholders, including the Governor, our State Legislators, the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Valencia County, and others, to this essential regional project,” said Mayor Griego.
Currently, the bridge crossing has an estimated 26,000 vehicle trips per day, with expected increases to over 43,000 by 2035. Traffic congestion becomes compounded when there is an accident, and when the Rail Runner commuter train passes through the village. The railroad gates block traffic an average of 28 times daily, and the situation leads to intense congestion during morning and evening commutes.
The proposed location for this new roadway named the Morris Road alignment is about 1.5 miles to the south of NM 6 and would extend from I-25 on the west to NM 47 on the east. The Morris Road option was determined to be the preferred alignment through a comprehensive corridor study conducted by the Mid-Region Council of Governments.
The east-west corridor project will link three main north-south routes in a four-mile connection that will span the Rio Grande valley and river. Engineering studies indicate that once completed the corridor will decrease traffic on NM 6 by nearly 45% and provide drivers an alternative route to reach destinations east of the river and south of the village.
The Village of Los Lunas is currently utilizing $3.5 million in Federal Highway Transportationfunds to purchase needed right-of-way. Additionally, the Village has committed $2.5 million in local funds, together with $2.0 million in GO Bond funds that were approved in 2018 by Valencia County voters, to go towards this project. The total amount of approximately $60million for Phase 1 will cover planning, design, and construction to include a new I-25interchange, a new four-lane Rio Grande bridge crossing, and a new road connecting I-25 to NM 47, with one lane in each direction. Phase 2 of the project, which is not yet funded, woul dadd a second lane in each direction to the new road. Local officials estimate a five-year time frame to complete Phase 1 by the end of 2024.
The Village is proactively working to move this project forward. Here are some recent updates:
- May 2019 - Washington DC congressional visit by representatives from the Village of Los Lunas Council and Valencia County Commission
- $10 million appropriated to this project through House Bill 2
- $2 million earmarked for this project when Valencia County passed a Special General Obligation Bond Election on 8/21/18.
- $2.5 million authorized towards the project Village of Los Lunas Council approved Resolution #18-15.
- Currently developing the Interchange Access Change Request (IACR)
- Actively preserving the corridor ROW
The Village of Los Lunas evolved historically as a farming community and maintains great pride in its rural character. However, annexation and development over the last thirty years have changed the Village from a quiet, rural place into one of the fastest-growing municipalities in New Mexico. Currently, NM 6 (Main Street) is the only Interstate exit for Los Lunas and provides the only opportunity for the Village and County residents to cross the Rio Grande. Approximately 40% of vehicles that travel on NM 6 do not stop in Los Lunas.
The need for a new I-25 interchange and east-west corridor is to improve traffic flow; access to high growth areas within the study area; and the efficiency of emergency response within the Village and surrounding areas. The resulting congestion adversely affects commuter travel; access to area businesses, schools and services located along NM 6; and the ability to respond quickly to emergency situations. EMS response times are a major factor in “life or death” situations. The Village has been very proactive in addressing this problem and has spent several million dollars over the last decade as the local lead on approximately eight different projects in an attempt to upgrade NMDOT intersection facilities on NM 6 in an effort to alleviate congestion concerns. Therefore, one of the Village’s top priorities is a new I-25 Interchange (with a new east-west arterial and river crossing) that would actually serve most of Valencia County.
- Mid-Region Council of Governments, Metropolitan Transportation Board
November 17, 2017
- New Mexico State Legislature, House Transportation, Public Works & Capital Improvements Committee
January 30, 2018
- New Mexico State Legislature, Transportation Infrastructure Revenue Subcommittee
November 6, 2014
- New Mexico State Transportation Commission:
Las Cruces, December 4, 2014
Rio Rancho, February 19, 2015
Aztec, May 21, 2015
Los Lunas, July 16, 2015
Socorro, October 15, 2015
Santa Fe, January 21, 2016
Acoma, August 18, 2016
Milan, July 20, 2017
Milan, September 20, 2018
- Valencia Association of Local Elected Officials (VALEO)
May 3, 2016
- Valencia County Commission:
May 18, 2016
October 4, 2017
- U.S. Congressional Visits with Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce
May 14, 2019
April 19, 2018
- Los Lunas, Valencia County, local legislators, and Los Lunas Schools met with the Governor’s office to stress the importance of a new regional interchange.
- U.S. Congressional Visits with Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce, April 4, 2017
- U.S. Congressional Visit:
April 21, 2016
- USDOT Visit:
April 20, 2016
- U.S. Congressional Visits with Sen. Tom Udall, Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Steve Pearce, April 28, 2015
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
Bureau of Reclamation
New Mexico Department of Transportation
Mid-Region Council of Governments
Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District
- U.S. DOT TIGER Grant (2015, 2016, 2017)
- U.S. DOT INFRA Grant (2018)
- U.S. DOT BUILD Grant (2018)
- U.S. DOT FASTLANE Grant (2017)