New Mexico Department
of Transportation photo. A $23 million pavement rehabilitation and shoulder-widening project will improve safety and travel on NM 529 in Lea County near Hobbs, N.M.
A $23 million pavement rehabilitation and shoulder-widening project will improve safety and travel on NM 529 in Lea County near Hobbs, N.M. The project, designed to improve highway capacity, is currently on schedule and on budget.
Phase 1 work was done by Fisher Sand & Gravel of Placitas, N.M.
Phase 2 of the project, under contract to James Hamilton Construction Co. of Silver City, N.M., a highway, mining and heavy civil contractor. Work on the roadway started in May of this year and should conclude in fall 2017.
Hamilton Construction specializes in highway, heavy, municipal-utility construction, mining, reclamation and general engineering. Founded in 1945, the company builds roads, highways, dams, airport runways, plant facilities and railways. It serves local and federal government agencies as well as private industry construction projects in New Mexico and Arizona.
The State Transportation Program provided the bulk of funding for Phase 1. Funding for Phase 2 came primarily from the National Highway Performance Program.
“The contract is about 25 percent complete,” said Manon A. Arnett, quality manager and public information officer of New Mexico Department of Transportation's District Two office. “The contractor is working on balancing earthwork, pipe extensions and capping pipe at the time being.”
Donna Gilland of New Mexico Department of Transportation is project manager.
About 19 subcontractors are assigned to the project. Between 20 and 25 construction workers are on the job each day in various locations.
The project is located in rural New Mexico. It spans 31 mi. (50 km) and consists of two separate projects.
The first phase, finished on June 22 of this year, started at milepost 22 and proceeded east to milepost 31 near the junction of U.S.-62/180.
The current second phase is from milepost 0 (U.S.-82) east to milepost 22.
It includes cold mill and overlay of the driving lanes, installation of 8-ft. (2.4 m) shoulders, replacement, cleaning or repairing of existing drainage culverts and improvements at key intersections.
Intersections are being reconstructed to provide better sight distance and mitigate congestion. In addition, merging lanes are being built at major intersections.
The project also adds new passing lanes to make the highway safer.
The improvements are designed to accommodate heavy oil field traffic in the area.
“This was one of the most heavily traveled in southeastern New Mexico,” Arnett said.
The last maintenance project on NM 529 took place in 2007.
Modern, Safe Highways
“New Mexico's roads and highways are literally the foundation of our commerce,” Arnett said. “Investing in our roadway will keep our families safe and provide a stronger foundation for economic growth.”
In regard to economic improvement, studies have found that for every $1 million spent on urban highway or intermodal expansion, 2.9 local long-term jobs are created as a result of improved access.
10 Construction Phases
James Hamilton Construction Co. is currently working on phases three and four. That includes shoulder widening eastbound and westbound.
Heavy equipment currently on site includes an excavator, water truck, dump trucks, pavers, road graders, rollers, compactors and front-end loaders.
Crews will apply about 172,250 tons (156,262.5 t) of hot mix asphalt and 470 cu. yds. (359.3 cu m) of concrete during the course of the project.
Fill material needed for the design profile is available on site. Some additional materials will be brought in for paving operations.
Improving Safety of Motorists
They are part of a plan to address roadway and bridge deterioration, traffic safety concerns and a lack of adequate capacity on some roadway and transit corridors. The lack of newer roadways poses a risk to public safety and threatens to stifle economic growth. Studies have found that highway improvements can reduce traffic fatalities and crashes while improving traffic flow to help relieve congestion.
Such improvements include removing or shielding obstacles, adding or improving medians, installing better lighting, adding rumble strips, widening lanes and paving and widening shoulders.