There’s some new movement on a project that people in Valencia County have been wanting for years – another I-25 interchange. The county commission is taking a major step by going to the state for money to help get it done.
“It just bottlenecks everyday,” said Michael Shea, Los Lunas resident.
“It’s horrible, the traffic is just horrible,” said Vicky Chavez, Los Lunas resident.
Over the last few years, the village of Los Lunas has seen a population increase and more traffic. Studies show the village is expecting to see more than 10,000 additional cars on its roads in the next 15 years.
“We do want to grow and when companies come to look at our town they are going to identify that bottle neck as a problem every time they come,” said State Rep. Alonzo Baldonado.
With the state seeing a huge influx of cash with the latest oil boom, the village, county commissioners and state reps say building a new I-25 interchange will be a priority during the upcoming legislative session.
“I would rather those dollars spent on infrastructure projects that will serve the community for the state for the next 20 to 30 years rather than programs that already exist,” Baldonado said.
The traffic backup also causes issues for first responders. Los Lunas resident Vicky Chavez says her commute time to get across town has nearly tripled.
“With traffic it’s more than 20 minutes a day,” Chavez said. “I mean, if I go pick up my granddaughter, it takes me at least 30 minutes to get from the high school to my house.”
Others say adding a new interchange is not a luxury, it’s a need.
“I really think the interchange is the next best thing to alleviate traffic,” Shea said.
The project is expected to cost nearly$100 million with funding also coming from the feds. It’s unclear how much they want the state to pitch in.
County commissioners say another priority on their state wish list will be for an overpass at the intersection of Jarales Road and the triple railroad tracks near Belen, where residents often get stuck for half an hour or longer because of passing trains.