Los Lunas Gets Green Light on I-25 Interchange/East-West Corridor Project
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 completedthe 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 byValencia County voters, to go towards this project. The total amount of approximately $60
million 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, wouldadd a second lane in each direction to the new road. Local officials estimate a five-year
timeframe to complete Phase 1 by the end of 2024.