I-10/I-25 Interchange: It Grows as It Goes

Sat August 10, 2013 - West Edition
Mary Reed


An additional safety improvement included constructing new I-10 bridges that cross I-25. The old bridges were limited to the amount of load weight they could safely carry.
An additional safety improvement included constructing new I-10 bridges that cross I-25. The old bridges were limited to the amount of load weight they could safely carry.
An additional safety improvement included constructing new I-10 bridges that cross I-25. The old bridges were limited to the amount of load weight they could safely carry. Now completed and open to traffic, the rehabilitation of the busy I-10/I-25 interchange in Las Cruces, N.M., has not only addressed structural deficiencies but also ensures motorists will enjoy a safer ride through this aesthetically pleasing interchange. Two I-10 bridges posted with load limits were replaced with spans meeting present day design standards, enabling them to be used by the large trucks commonly needed for commerce and business. “The best feature of the I-10/I-25 Interchange Reconstruction Project is improving the overall traffic safety by constructing an interchange that meets current American Association of State Highway and Transportation (AASHTO) design criteria,”

Now completed and open to traffic, the rehabilitation of the busy I-10/I-25 interchange in Las Cruces, N.M., has not only addressed structural deficiencies but also ensures motorists will enjoy a safer ride through this aesthetically pleasing interchange.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 27 percent of annual accidents at that location are caused by vehicles overturning on associated ramps, which are not designed to current standards. I-25 handles traffic from El Paso, Texas, and southern New Mexico, while I-10 —widened last year from four lanes to six — is a major highway for Mexican and southwestern traffic.

"The best feature of the I-10/I-25 Interchange Reconstruction Project is improving the overall traffic safety by constructing an interchange that meets current American Association of State Highway and Transportation [AASHTO] design criteria," said a spokesperson of the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT).

"The I-10/I-25 interchange was built almost 50 years ago and no longer met the demands of increasing vehicle traffic. There also were several safety deficiencies, such as inadequate deceleration and acceleration lanes and tight ramp turning radii which resulted in vehicles exiting the interstate at 65 mph and quickly reducing to 25 mph to avoid overturns, especially for trucks, on the connecting ramps."

An additional safety improvement included constructing new I-10 bridges that cross I-25. The old bridges, were limited to the amount of load weight they could safely carry, the NMDOT spokesperson said, adding that "Other best features of the overall project are measures to reduce traffic noise experienced within the project corridor. One measure was removing the existing concrete pavement and adding a course of rubberized asphalt to aid in reduction of traffic noise.

"Other measures to reduce traffic noise include constructing an elevated ramp to connect I-10 eastbound to I-25 northbound and a noise abatement wall located near the south end of the project area."

According to the spokesperson, the I-10/I-25 Interchange Reconstruction Project was the result of a corridor study that was conducted by Molzen Corbin following the NMDOT location study procedures. During the study several design alignment alternatives, including the no-build alternative, were developed based on roadway design criteria recommended by AASHTO. The result of the study was the preferred project design ultimately used for the interchange.

Several public meetings were held during the study to inform the public of the study and design progress including presentations of the preferred design and requests for public input for bridge aesthetics.

Upon completion of the study, the construction plans for the I-10/I-25 Interchange Reconstruction Project were developed and the project bid on December 9, 2011. It was awarded to A.S. Horner Inc., of Albequeque, N.M., whose bid amount was $36.642 million.

A groundbreaking ceremony held on April 24, 2012, attended by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, New Mexico Transportation Secretary Alvin Dominguez, and Victor M. Mendez, head of the Federal Highway Administration, kicked off the project.

A. S. Horner Inc., began work on April 26, 2012 and completed the job on April 17, 2013. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on April 23, 2013. Guests included Gov. Martinez and other dignitaries.

A spokesperson of A. S. Horner described the job as "unusual," given its combination of work on the “spread-out” I-10, ramps, frontage roads, and the I-10/I-25 interchange, adding that it involved earthwork, two flyover curved steel girder bridges, four other bridges, concrete box culvert and wall barrier, drainage structures, curb and gutter, piling, and MSE wall, as well as paving, lighting, striping, guardrail, sign structures, aesthetics, and seeding.

Two I-10 bridges posted with load limits were replaced with spans meeting present day design standards, enabling them to be used by the large trucks commonly needed for commerce and business. At present about 43,000 vehicles use the interchange each day and their numbers are increasing, underlining the state motto Crescit Eundo, "it grows as it goes."

In addition, the I-25 bridge spanning the Fillmore arroyo was replaced, two new flyover ramps — one connecting northbound I-25 to eastbound I-10 and the second connecting I-10 westbound to southbound I-25 — were built, and local frontage roads were realigned.

The majority of the funding came from federal sources and the project required A+B bidding, which the A. S. Horner spokesperson said meant "the owner assigns a daily user cost based on construction delays experienced by the driving public and the contractor bids time to complete the project as well as the base bid.

If the contractor does not complete the project within the time he bid, he pays the owner the daily user cost, a penalty for each day the project is delayed. Selection of the successful bidder is based on the total amount — base bid plus the number of days times the daily user cost."

"For this interchange, the daily user cost was $46,000 and Horner bid 373 calendar days, with 324 calendar days for the full incentive of $46,000 per day for up to 49 days, for a total of $2.25 millions. Thus Horner’s base bid was $36,642,001.04 for a total bid of $53,800,001.20," he continued. "However, this amount is only used to select the contractor with the best bid (money and time) but the base bid is the real contract amount. With a completion date of April 17, 2013, the project was completed 60 days ahead of schedule, earning the full bonus."

The project’s combined lane mileage amounted to 9.560 mi. (15.4 km) of roadway and .296 mi. (.48 km) in major structures. Overall the job required:

• 140 cu. yds. (107 cu m) structural concrete, class A

• 450 cu. yds. (344 cu m) structural concrete, class AA

• 2,840 cu. yds. (2171 cu m) substructure concrete

• 3,886 cu. yds. (2,971 cu m) high performance concrete

• 3,044 linear ft. (927.8 m) concrete barrier railing

For this project, “numerous pieces of equipment, including Caterpillar scrapers, loaders, excavators, backhoes, paving machine, and rollers, John Deere, Volvo, Kobelco and Manitowoc cranes, and Hitachi excavators, were used in two shifts to not only meet the deadline but also beat the deadline for the full bonus,” Horner’s spokesperson said. Horner, Inc. general superintendent Charlie Johnson, project engineer Jimmy Wayne, and quality control supervisor Bryan Olivas worked on the job along with craftspersons whose numbers ranged from 120 company employees and 50 from various subcontractors at peak to 60 and 30 respectively at the lowest level of activity.

Twenty-two subcontractors worked on the project for a total sub-contract amount of $9.9 million. The companies involved included:

• Guzman Construction Solutions, Albequerque, N.M. (all earthwork, grading, demolition, old road removal, base course) $4.8 million

• Post-Tensioning Reinforcing Services Inc., Albuquerque, N.M. (rebar installation on bridges and other structures) $1.2 million

• Valley Fence Company, Albuquerque, N.M. (guardrail, post and cable, and fencing) $719,000

• Olsen-Beal Associates, Lindon, Utah (steel beams erection on the flyover ramp) $357,000

• Bixby Electric, Albuquerque, N.M. (lighting) $354,000

• Scott-Derr Paint Company, Friendswood, Texas (water repellent treatment, painting the entire project, and anti-graffiti coating) $370,000

• San Bar Construction Corporation, Albuquerque, N.M. (old stripe removal, rumble strips on shoulders, raised pavement markers and striping, both temporary and permanent) $183,000

• 814 Solutions LLC, Albequerque, N.M. (riprap, “including the beautiful work on the side slopes of the flyover ramp” said Horner’s spokesperson, seeding, and temporary erosion control) $298,000

• D E Ready Mix Inc., Las Cruces, N.M. (block wall on Stern Street and slope paving as well as what Horner’s spokesperson described as “beautiful rock plating work on Cholla Road and I-25”) $280,000

• Highway Supply LLC, Albuquerque, N.M. (all permanent signing) $136,000

• Hardy Hole Drilling LLC, Chaparral, N.M. (drilled shafts for sound wall and overhead sign structures) $128,000

• Geo-Test Inc. Albuquerque, N.M. (video taping and vibration monitoring) $9,650

Other subcontractors contributing to the successful completion of the project were Hank M Gallegos Trucking of Albuquerque, N.M. ($22,000) and J & M Trucking, based in Hatch, N.M. ($542,000), both of which hauled materials, and Brian Kanoff Photography, headquartered in El Paso, Texas, which took aerial progress photos every two weeks during the year-long project.

With the project now completed, Horner’s spokesperson expressed the company’s appreciation of "the patience, co-operation, and understanding of the residents and drivers alike throughout the construction period."