TRIP, a national transportation research group, analyzed data provided by the New Mexico Department of Transportation which included routes, locations, current levels of use, types of improvement needed, estimated cost of the improvements, and other factors.
Luna County only had one project rank in the top 50 – a bridge replacement on New Mexico 549 or the Old Las Cruces Highway. The bridge runs four-tenths of a mile near mile-marker 24 and its replacement is estimated to cost $4.8 million.
The TRIP analysis notes that Interstate 10 is a major corridor between California and Florida, and when I-10 is closed due to accidents or dust storms, traffic must detour an additional 60 miles or wait for the re-opening of the interstate.
New Mexico 549 is listed as an efficient alternate when I-10 is closed, but the bridge in question is load-limited and restricts all commercial vehicle traffic.
The analysis further states that the bridge also contains several safety issues that need addressed.
The report says the replacement of the bridge will allow interstate traffic to be detoured with very little added time or mileage, maintaining the east-west traffic flows along the I-10 corridor.