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Southeast Loop Road and U.S. 285 construction moves on

Construction continued on two major Eddy County road projects to increase safety and relieve traffic congestion.

Anticipated completion of phase one construction of the Southeast Loop Road near Carlsbad was set for late September, said Eddy County’s Community Services Director Wesley Hooper.

He said the estimated cost of the multi-phase project was $25 million.

More:Impending $80M Eddy County road project still in design stage

Hooper said the 13-mile loop road would connect U.S. Highway 285 with U.S. Highway 62/180.

He said crews are in the final stages of work at the intersection of U.S. 62/180 and the George Shoup Relief Route. He said the work would tie the road to Old Refinery Road.

“So that is a whole new road,” Hooper said.

A road closed sign greets Artesia commuters on Sept. 1, 2021. Eddy County is home to major ongoing construction projects that could improve safety and relieve congestion.

Phase one could wrap up by Sept. 25 and phase two plans were picking up, according to Hooper.

Aug. 17, Eddy County’s Board of County Commissioners approved a $1.5 million agreement between the County and New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT).

Hooper said NMDOT could sign off on the agreement by mid-September as the County continued to negotiate with property owners for right-of-way access.

More:Progress being made in construction of loop road

“Some of that property we’re going to need for right-of-way’s (is) in probate and (Eddy County Attorney) Cas (Tabor) is working to push that through so we can get working on it,” he said during the Aug. 17 meeting.

Hooper said construction bids could be awarded in November and the right-of-way situation could clear up by then.

NMDOT announced $5.7 million in Transportation Project Funds (TPF) for phase three, he said.

Eddy County Community Services Director Wesley Hooper said progress continued on a Southeast Loop Road near Carlsbad.

In 2019, the New Mexico Legislature passed House Bill 694, creating the Local Government Transportation Fund (LGTPF), read the Legislature’s website.

The State of New Mexico provides 95 percent of TPF money and local entities have a 5 percent match, the website indicated.

Hooper said Eddy County’s share was $300,000 and bids for phase three could be awarded in January.