LOS LUNAS — The Los Lunas Village Council recently approved its Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan and has submitted it to the state. The highest priority item on their list is the Interstate 25 interchange and bridge construction project.

The village plans for the corridor to run along Morris Road from the interstate to N.M. 314. It will then cross over the river and connect to N.M. 47 to provide additional access to I-25 and help alleviate congestion from Los Lunas Main Street.

The village estimates the total cost of the project to be about $220 million. The village has so far secured about $165 million for phase one of the project.

The amount not yet funded is $55 million, which would go toward phase two of the project. The village hopes to obtain this remaining amount, or a sizable chunk, from ICIP funding.

Los Lunas Public Works Director Michael Jaramillo said it became apparent to the governing body in the last 10 years that the interchange and bridge project needed to become a high priority project due to the rapid growth of the community.

“We know if we don’t get this here soon (traffic) is just going to continue to get worse because there’s growth on the east side of Los Lunas as well,” said Jaramillo. “In the Tomé area, there’s a lot of housing additions that are coming up and everybody’s having to get to the same location, and we realize this growth, while great for businesses, is going to really create some issues on Main Street.”

Jaramillo said they’re getting ready to have a 90 percent design meeting and are currently working on finalizing the acquisition of properties. By the end of November, the village is hoping to have all the property purchased and acquired needed for the project.

“So we’re moving along and are hoping to meet our time frame to be able to advertise this project by the summer of next year so that we can be in construction by September,” Jaramillo said.

Central Rail Park utility extension project

The second item on the list, which is ranked in order of priority, is the Central Rail Park utility extension project.

Jaramillo said Los Lunas is in the center of two large major networks — I-40 and I-25 — so the Central Rail Park on the west side of Los Lunas has been a focal point for upcoming industrial and manufacturing jobs.

To be prepared for future industrial manufacturing facilities in the area, Jaramillo said the village needs to extend water and sewer utilities to the Central Rail Park through this project, which has been in development for about seven years.

The total cost is estimated to be $6.4 million, and the village has so far secured $4.1 million. Jaramillo said the project will be broken up into phases, and construction of phase one began in November of last year.

Aquatic center

The third item on the ICIP list is an aquatic center. In years past, the village did some surveying of the community to get its input on quality of life in Los Lunas.  An aquatic center came up as the No. 1 survey result.

The current estimated cost for the aquatic center is $20 million. No funds have yet been obtained for the construction of the project.

“The village has known that it’s something they want to do, but they also know it comes with a high price tag,” said Jaramillo. “The council has approved work on preliminary designs, and now I think it’s just a matter of us figuring out how we can come up with the funding to go into construction.”

Recently, the village received a proposal from The Sports Facilities Companies to better understand the market opportunity, project feasibility and overall financial viability of an aquatic center in Los Lunas.

At the Aug. 24 council meeting, Los Lunas Mayor Charles Griego said getting an idea of the long-term impact and operating cost of the aquatic center is something they need to understand before proceeding further.

The councilors agreed it would be wise to conduct a needs analysis study. The council unanimously approved the proposal, which will cost the village about $30,000.

Moving forward, consultants will perform a needs analysis based on input from a steering committee, community members and stakeholders and area demographics. The consultants will also prepare a conceptual plan and cost analysis. The results of the study will determine if the village will move forward with the project.

Sun Ranch Village Road and N.M. 6 intersection improvements

The fourth item on the ICIP list is Sun Ranch Village Road and N.M. 6 intersection improvements. Jaramillo said this is a high priority item due to the amount of traffic and growth on the west side of Los Lunas.

“This project has come to light due to the amount of people trying to get in or out of Sun Ranch Village Road,” he said. “We’re in the process of doing design studies to figure out what those improvements may be.”

The village has obtained $950,000 for the project through last year’s legislative session, and needs an additional $1,707,000 to have it fully funded.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation owns the N.M. 6, so the village is working with them through this process. Jaramillo said they hope to have a design completed within the next couple of weeks and by this time next year, or sooner, construction will begin on improvements to help the traffic flow within that intersection.

N.M. 6 sound barrier

The fifth highest priority item on the list is the N.M. 6 sound barrier, which will span the northern perimeter of Jubilee, the active adult community on the westside of Los Lunas, if all goes according to plan.

The project originated from concerns expressed by Jubilee community members regarding noise disturbance from the large amount of traffic in the area. The total projected cost is about $1.9 million, and the village has so far been awarded $750,000 through legislative capital outlay.

“So now what we’re going to do is go through the process of planning and design work, and we need to work out all the legalities of the location of where the wall goes because the property that is being requested is private property and public funds cannot be used on private property,” said Jaramillo.

If another round of funds can be obtained within the next legislative session, Jaramillo said the village can probably construct the wall in mid summer of next year.

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.