The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) recently held a ribbon cutting to officially open the I-25 University Avenue Project in Las Cruces.
The approximately $34 million project, which has been under construction since January 2020, is designed to improve safety and traffic flow at one of the city's busiest traffic interchanges.
"Before COVID, more than 35,000 vehicles traveled this stretch of I-25 every day," Trent Doolittle, NMDOT District One District Engineer, said in a statement. "With traffic continuing to ramp back up, this is the perfect time to provide better and safer traffic flow and better connections to this area of the city."
The project was a partnership between NMDOT, the City of Las Cruces, and New Mexico State University (NMSU).
The project included sustainability practices with the use of recycling demolition materials for use in backfill and construction of mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls, use of high-efficiency LED lighting to reduce light scatter, and multimodal enhancement through improvements to the multiuse trail system in the area as well as accommodations on University Avenue for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Local firm La Calerita Construction was chosen to build the project, which provides the following:
- Adding capacity to the I-25 southbound off-ramp at University.
- Reducing traffic congestion and weaving.
- Providing direct connections to Pan American Center parking lots.
- Building two roundabouts for free flow of local traffic.
- Continuing the multiuse Triviz Trail and connecting it to the NMSU trail system and improvements on University Avenue for bicyclists and pedestrians.
- Promoting sustainability through recycling and use of energy-efficient materials.
The project also includes $6 million in custom artwork on the bridges and walls.
SOURCE: New Mexico DOT