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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:

- https://i40nmstudy.com/


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

rte66man

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

DJStephens

#5
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.   150 miles of barrier, in mostly desolate rural terrain.  WTF?   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.   

Bobby5280

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.

DenverBrian

The new climbing lanes go for only a mile or a mile and a half? That seems extremely short.

jtespi

Quote from: DJStephens on June 21, 2024, 10:14:35 AM150 miles of barrier, in mostly desolate rural terrain.
 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. 

Did you look through the presentation PDF slides? A concrete barrier would only be conducted along 50 of the 150 miles with the enhanced 2-lane option.

If the entire corridor would need to be converted to 3 lanes in each direction in the future, an additional 41 miles of concrete barrier would be installed.

The future 3rd lane would be built to the outside of the road for those 50 miles that require a flush median and concrete barrier today. The idea is to rebuild the whole corridor so that it can support a future 3rd lane anywhere along the corridor in the future.

The enhanced 2-lane design allows easy conversion to 3 lanes in the future and seems like a smart plan.

abqtraveler

Quote from: jtespi on July 01, 2024, 03:54:17 AM
Quote from: DJStephens on June 21, 2024, 10:14:35 AM150 miles of barrier, in mostly desolate rural terrain.
 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. 

Did you look through the presentation PDF slides? A concrete barrier would only be conducted along 50 of the 150 miles with the enhanced 2-lane option.

If the entire corridor would need to be converted to 3 lanes in each direction in the future, an additional 41 miles of concrete barrier would be installed.

The future 3rd lane would be built to the outside of the road for those 50 miles that require a flush median and concrete barrier today. The idea is to rebuild the whole corridor so that it can support a future 3rd lane anywhere along the corridor in the future.

The enhanced 2-lane design allows easy conversion to 3 lanes in the future and seems like a smart plan.
New Mexico will never have the money to actually implement this plan. Before any of this happens, the state would have to spend tens--if not hundreds--of millions on environmental studies to comply with NEPA before even a shovelful of dirt gets moved. If they built it correctly, it would be paved with reinforced concrete, rather than the half-assed job using cheap asphalt that's typical of New Mexico, only to come back and replace the road surface in less than 10 years.

Now, there's the other issue that could be more of a showstopper: most of I-40 from Albuquerque to the Arizona state line goes through Native American reservations, and the Native American tribes would more than likely fight any attempts to expand the ROW through their reservations to accommodate additional lanes on I-40.

It would be nice to widen I-40 to 3 lanes in each direction, but I won't see it in my lifetime.
2-d Interstates traveled:  4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 24, 25, 27, 29, 35, 39, 40, 41, 43, 45, 49, 55, 57, 64, 65, 66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76(E), 77, 78, 81, 83, 84(W), 85, 87(N), 89, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95

2-d Interstates Clinched:  12, 22, 30, 37, 44, 59, 80, 84(E), 86(E), 238, H1, H2, H3, H201

Bobby5280

All of I-40 between Albuquerque and the AZ state line has enough space within the existing ROW to expand to 3 or even 4 lanes in both directions. They shouldn't need to be getting any additional ROW land from the tribes or other property owners.

jtespi

Quote from: abqtraveler on July 03, 2024, 10:09:27 AMNow, there's the other issue that could be more of a showstopper: most of I-40 from Albuquerque to the Arizona state line goes through Native American reservations, and the Native American tribes would more than likely fight any attempts to expand the ROW through their reservations to accommodate additional lanes on I-40.

It would be nice to widen I-40 to 3 lanes in each direction, but I won't see it in my lifetime.

Quote from: Bobby5280 on July 03, 2024, 11:14:39 AMAll of I-40 between Albuquerque and the AZ state line has enough space within the existing ROW to expand to 3 or even 4 lanes in both directions. They shouldn't need to be getting any additional ROW land from the tribes or other property owners.

NMDOT has consulted with the Native American tribes along this stretch of I-40. They are working collaboratively to improve the safety and efficiency of I-40 in this area. I don't think they are opposed to this upgrade. Local residents travel the corridor frequently to access services in Gallup, Grants, and Albuquerque.

Right of way acquisition would be minimal.

This seems like a good forward thinking project despite the speculative pessimism.



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