GRIP Funds to Rebuild New Mexico Highways

Mon March 05, 2007 - West Edition
Richard Miller

Gov. Bill Richardson’s Investment Partnership (GRIP) was initiated in 2003. This $1.6 billion statewide transportation expansion and infrastructure improvement project is supported by approximately 100 cities, counties, business groups and chambers of commerce across New Mexico.

The New Mexico legislature approved GRIP during a special session in October 2003 and Richardson signed into law. GRIP includes 42 expansion and critical infrastructure improvement projects and will include more than 100 construction contracts across New Mexico.

In October 2006, Richardson helped celebrate a specific project within the GRIP funding program — the Coors Interchange and I-40 reconstruction project. The $14 million project called for reconstructing the existing lanes on I-40 from Coors Interchange west to 98th Street including new lighting, improved drainage and a new concrete barrier.

“In many ways Interstate 40 has always been New Mexico’s main street,” said Richardson during the groundbreaking ceremony. “As the old Route 66 brought many of first automobile tourists and travelers here, and I-40 remains one the main keys to our transportation infrastructure — especially for our West-Side commuters. This project is step one in improving I-40 west of Albuquerque from the Coors Interchange all the way to Paseo del Volcan to rapidly serve the growing communities west of Albuquerque.

In August 2003 the first phase reconstructing I-40 was awarded to Twin Mountain Construction II Company of Albuquerque, N.M. According to S.U. Mahesh of the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT), “This is the first phase of three projects that, when completed, will reconstruct I-40 from Coors Interchange to Paseo Del Volcan.”

The project is scheduled for completion in August 2007 and will replace pavement and bridge structures dating back to the 1960’s.

“Old pavement consists of old concrete with an asphalt overlay,” Mahesh said. “This will be cold-milled and the old concrete then removed.”

Dustrol Inc. of Albuquerque provided the cold milling services.

“New pavement will consist of concrete base pavement with an asphalt overlay,” Mahesh said. “The pavement will be supported by a coarse base of recycled pavement materials wherever possible. The new pavement will have a life expectancy of 20 years.”

One of the larger issues on this project was managing the traffic during the different phases of construction. More than 80,000 vehicles currently pass through the construction areas on a daily basis.

“ Traffic will be moved on to temporary detours while the new pavement is being constructed,” Mahesh said. “Also, ramps to bridges such as the Unser bridge will be constructed under later phases.”

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