NEW MEXICO (KRQE) –  The New Mexico Department of Transportation is changing its priorities, but a few major projects remain high on the list. NMDOT is anticipating these three big projects could cost more than $200-million. It may seem like the state just did major work on the Rio Bravo bridge last year. The bridge which sees more than 30,000 drivers daily, was closed for a few weeks at the beginning of 2020, for emergency repair.

“What our preliminary studies are showing, is that it’ll be more cost-effective in the long run to replace both bridges at the same time so that’s what’s driving this,” said Jill Mosher, the Assistant District Engineer for NMDOT. But, come 2023, the department is hoping to begin construction on a complete bridge replacement. “The bridge is at the end of its life and it’s just time to replace it,” said Mosher.

Based on similar projects and preliminary studies, the department expects that replacement to cost about $25-million, and they may end up replacing both the eastbound and westbound bridge. “We’re trying to make sure taxpayers get more bang for their buck,” said Mosher.

The Gibson and I-25 interchange is also on the priority list. NMDOT will be reconstructing the interchange and replacing the bridge. “Rather than going in and replacing the bridges and leaving an old interchange design there, we’re going to go in and take care of all of it,” said Mosher.

They anticipate that project could cost up to $100-million, but they won’t begin that construction until after the I-25 and Montgomery interchange gets an overhaul. Mosher says she expects that to be complete by 2025.

The Montgomery, I-25 interchange and bridge replacement was supposed to begin this year but got pushed back to 2023. The Montgomery project is expected to cost about $90-million and will also include improvements to the Comanche interchange and corridor.