Q: How much will this project cost?
A: The project is estimated to cost about $33.3 million.
Q: How is the project being paid for?
A: The project is funded with a combination of state and federal funds. It is being funded from multiple fiscal years so that the NM Department of Transportation can also address other needs.
Q: How long is construction going to take?
A: Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2, 2020 and last about 18 months – through the summer of 2021.
Q: There has already been a lot of construction in Las Cruces. Why are you building this project now?
A: Growing Pains. The City of Las cruces and the surrounding area have experienced constant growth that has exceeded the capacity of the current infrastructure. We understand people are tired of construction, but planning and building a project of this size takes years. We have to get regulatory approval, line up the funding, finalize the design with public input and bid the project out as well as select a contractor. Then, once everything is in place, we have a fairly short amount of time to spend the project funding or lose it.
Q: This interchange is a very busy area. How are you going to keep traffic flowing?
A: We plan to keep two lanes on I-25 open in each direction and two lanes of University open in each direction during construction to the extent possible. There will also be some nighttime closures for bridge demolition, bridge construction and overhead sign structures. When we have a closure, we’ll let everyone know well in advance and will also establish detours.
Q: How will you let people know about construction impacts?
A: We will hold monthly public meetings to discuss upcoming construction impacts. We will also publish updates on the project’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. In addition, people can sign up for email updates by visiting our website. And, the New Mexico Department of Transportation will provide updated information at www.nmroads.com and through its 5-1-1 travel information service.
Q: Are you coordinating with NM State University? How are you going to handle their games and special events?
A: Yes, we are coordinating closely with NMSU. Construction will be ongoing during their games and special events, but we will coordinate as closely as possible to minimize the inconvenience. NMSU is supportive of the project because it will provide easier access on and off campus for students, faculty, staff and the public who visit or attend events there.
Q: Is the City of Las Cruces involved?
A: Yes, we have also been coordinating with the City of Las Cruces on a regular basis. We are discussing proposed agreements for the City to maintain landscaping, traffic signals and streetlights within the project area.
Q: I understand there will be artwork on the bridges. Why?
A: We wanted to add artwork for interest and because this project is a gateway to New Mexico, the community and to NMSU. We selected a local artist through a competitive process. More information is included in the “About” section of this website.
Q: Why can’t construction be done at night?
A: The traffic control is set up so that nighttime or daytime work can occur as needed. Due to the project’s proximity to hotels, nighttime work would be very disruptive. Also, the barricading required cannot be picked up and put down on a daily basis. Finally, nighttime work is less productive, therefore it would take longer – possibly almost twice as long, so the public might be inconvenienced for as long as three years instead of 18 months.
Q: Does the project include anything for the local intersections?
A: Yes. There will be new traffic signals at University and the intersections of Triviz, Las Alturas/Don Roser and the I-25 southbound off-ramp and I-25 northbound off-ramp. Also, there will be added turn lanes at some of these intersections and new sidewalks at University and Triviz.
Q: Why do you need two roundabouts?
A: Roundabouts actually help local traffic flow more smoothly because they do not have traffic signals. We looked at different alternatives for the northern roundabout, which is needed because of Triviz being built under University. The northern roundabout was found to be a better and safer alternative to keep traffic flowing. It will be similar to the roundabout in downtown Las Cruces and will be large enough for use by busses and delivery trucks as well as emergency vehicles. It will offer traffic the option to continue on Triviz or to continue to the southern roundabout under University Avenue. The larger roundabout to the south will offer drivers four options: 1) head back north of Triviz with a free flow movement, which may reduce congestion during the afternoon peak; 2) head west on Triviz to access Arrowhead; 3) head south of Triviz to Wells; or 4) keep going to access I-25. Also it’s important to note that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or signal-controlled intersections. They reduced injury crashes at intersections where stop signs or signals were previously used for traffic control by about 75 percent, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Studies by the IIHS and the Federal Highway Administration have shown that roundabouts typically achieve a 37 percent reduction in overall collisions, a 75 percent reduction in injury collisions, a 90 percent reduction in fatality collisions and a 40 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions.
Q: How will emergency vehicles get through during construction?
A: We will work with the police departments at the City, County and NMSU, as well as local hospitals and ambulance companies, to make sure access is available and they are notified about construction. As on any other construction project, the contractor’s traffic control personnel will use flagging operations as needed to let emergency vehicles pass through the construction zone.
Q: When you prepared the model for this project, did you take into account traffic for special events? How will you handle that?
A: When we design projects, we take into account AM/PM peak periods so that we do not overdesign them. We will work with the police on managing traffic during special events.
Q: How will you work with businesses during construction?
A: We will maintain access to all businesses at all times during construction and will keep them up to date on construction as well as provide information they can share with their customers.
Q: Will Triviz Trail remain open during construction?
A: We will have to do some work on the trail. When this is going on, a detour route will be provided.
Q: How are you going to handle drainage?
A: We have identified some additional “ponding” areas within the project to handle storm water runoff.