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I-40 in Western New Mexico

Started by Plutonic Panda, June 18, 2024, 06:33:40 AM

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Plutonic Panda

Feels like this needs its own thread since it'll be a multi billion project. This covers I-40 west of Albuquerque to the Arizona state line.

There were two alternatives one of which would have widened the entire corridor to six lanes and another which would add climbing lanes, various safety improvements, and six lane I-40 through Gallup. They recommended the latter as a preferred alternative as it was decided 4 lanes would suffice for a the foreseeable future which I agree with.

QuoteThe Enhanced 2-Lane with Added Lanes Alternative would continue to provide 2 lanes in each direction of I-40, as shown in the typical section below:

In addition:
Inside and outside shoulders would be widened to 12 feet. This would provide space to improve incident management as shown in this video and would allow for 2-lanes to be maintained during construction and maintenance as shown in this video.
Curve, pavement, bridge, and drainage needs would be addressed.
Interchange access ramps would be improved to meet current design guidelines as shown in this video.
A third lane would be provided where needed, including Gallup and on steep grades as shown in the graphic below:


Plutonic Panda

Here's a map of the proposed improvements:

Plutonic Panda

A few videos showing what the improvements would look like:

Plutonic Panda

Estimated costs:

Enhanced 2-Lane with Added Lanes
(includes 13 miles of 3-Lane roadway)   Per mile: $24 to 26 million
Total: $3.6 to 3.9 billion


Quote from: Plutonic Panda on June 18, 2024, 06:39:41 AMEstimated costs:

Enhanced 2-Lane with Added Lanes
(includes 13 miles of 3-Lane roadway)   Per mile: $24 to 26 million
Total: $3.6 to 3.9 billion

How will they pay for it?
When you come to a fork in the road... TAKE IT.

                                                               -Yogi Berra


Yep, no surprises here.  Typical short sighted cheaping out here.   Awful, terrible.  An enourmous amount of funds would be spent to construct a monotonous, boring center barrier, as well as pulling the travel lanes closer together.   Why does design always have to regress?  A far better scenario would be to rebuild the highway, including most of the interchanges, with horizontal clearances, in most stretches, for a standard 88 foot grassed median.   Would install cable barrier at all curves.   No it doesn't have to be six lanes wide for the entire length.  That scenario is ridiculous, as well as wasteful.    Six lanes in Gallup, yes.  A third lane to the OUTSIDE in climbing zones, yes.   


Ugh. With the opposing roadways butted up together the finished product will have the appearance of an old fashioned turnpike. That sort of design is understandable in places where the terrain is very uneven and space is limited, such as Pennsylvania (and much of the Penn Turnpike). In that part of New Mexico there is plenty of room in the existing ROW to maintain a wide median.

I'm sure part of the giant cost of this project has to do with the fact the main lanes will have to be entirely re-built over (I assume) the center median. All of that land has to be built-up and graded to hold new roadway and bridges.

The only positive thing I can say about this design is there will be plenty of space on the outboard sides to add more lanes in the future if/when needed. But that's assuming the NM state legislature doesn't do something stupid like shave off a bunch of the existing ROW and sell to developers.

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