The central New Mexico corridor contains about half the state’s population, with many commuting between Albuquerque and Santa Fe each day. The 4-lane interstate, which connects the two cities, was becoming increasingly congested, but expansion of the freeway was not feasible.
In 2003, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was instrumental in making the new commuter train a reality. Prior to construction, NMDOT purchased the railway from BNSF, which gave the commuter trains priority over freight trains.
After reviewing some of the key elements of the project, engineers determined they needed a versatile wall system that could be used in several different applications requiring varying batters. Aesthetics and ease of installation also were important. Based on these factors, engineers agreed that Redi-Rock was the best choice for the walls along the railway.
On the Rail Runner project, engineers at MacCornack Engineering, HNTB and Materials Inc. worked together to design both gravity and reinforced walls in a limestone texture. The tallest wall stands approximately 20 ft tall.
To blend in with the native earth tones, several of the higher-visibility walls were stained to blend in the landscape after construction was completed.