LOS LUNAS — The Los Lunas Village Council unanimously approved its Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan for the 2023-27 fiscal years, listing the village’s priority projects, with the new Interstate 25 interchange and bridge construction topping the list.
Every municipal and county government must annually approve their infrastructure funding priorities in order to receive project funding from the state Legislature.
- I-25 Interchange and new river bridge
After being in the works for more than a decade and a half, the highly-anticipated new I-25 interchange and river crossing is in the final stages of design, with ground expected to be broken on the project next year.
According to the plan, the project has already been funded at just more than $93 million to date with the village hoping to receive an additional $31,900,000 to finish out the project.
The project will add a new I-25 interchange that is 1.5 miles south of the current interchange, and will create four miles of four-lane roadway along Morris Road, connecting I-25 with N.M. 47. The project will also bring a new river crossing and four signalized intersections.
In an update on the project given to the council by Kevin Eades, executive vice president of Molzen Corbin, the engineering firm the village hired for the project, said they are moving towards finishing 60 percent of the design of the roadway. He added the firm plans to complete the final design by the summer of 2022 and go out to bid for contracting in October 2022.
- Central Rail Park utility extensions
The village plans to extend utility service lines along N.M. 6 from the Central Rail Park to the Facebook Data Center campus. The rail park is about five miles west of Los Lunas.
To date, the project has been funded just more than $4 million, with the village asking for an additional $2.3 million to carry out the project. The council also recently approved the use of $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go towards the project.
- Carson Park infrastructure improvements
The council asked for $5.5 million towards phase two of improvements to the Carson Park neighborhood. The town had already received $2 million for the project through the American Rescue Plan on the federal level.
Los Lunas Public Works Director Michael Jaramillo said improvements planned for the area include improving storm water drainage and replacing water system pipes which are no longer industry standard.
“This is an older area of our community that really needs some upgrades when it comes to storm water management,” Jaramillo said. “We have issues when it rains with mass flooding and ponding, which can definitely be bad for mosquitoes.”
- Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center radio upgrades
Los Lunas Fire Chief John Gabaldon said the radio upgrades for the Valencia Regional Emergency Communications Center are about 80 percent complete; radios in the dispatch center and all police and fire units have been installed, Gabaldon said.
“The state is working on installing another repeater at the dispatch center, which will enhance our coverage,” Gabaldon said.
Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego asked if neighboring communities have this item on their ICIP requests. Village Administrator Greg Martin said the other agencies are carrying it on their ICIP’s. Chief Gabaldon said there are going to be challenges with other agencies that have not yet upgraded.
- Castillo Street improvements
The village is requesting funding to design and reconstruct a half mile of Castillo Street to include new asphalt, water and sanitary sewer improvements, storm water mitigation and pedestrian/bike improvements between S. Los Lentes and Heaton Loop, Jaramillo said.
Other projects high on the priority list include facility improvements to Daniel Fernandez Memorial Park, River Park and the transportation center. The village is also asking for $20 million to fully fund a highly-anticipated aquatic center and another $1 million for street overlays.
Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.