The state Department of Transportation is about to start work on a major overhaul of the Interstate 25 interchange with N.M. 14 and Cerrillos Road south of Santa Fe, a project that looks perplexing on paper but which officials and engineers say is designed to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion.
Preparation for construction of New Mexico’s first “diverging diamond interchange,” which features criss-crossing roadways and the addition of traffic lights on either side of the state highway that runs under the interstate, is set to start next week. The department said in a news release that the work isn’t likely to be completed until the winter of 2016.
I-25 interchange project
Cost: $20 million, a combination of state and federal funds
• Longer merging lanes for getting on and off the interstate.
• Criss-crossing roadways and the addition of traffic lights on either side of N.M. 14 that runs under the interstate.
• Construction of a trail in the place of the razed bridges that will tie into the Arroyo Chamiso Trail.
How it works:
• Motorists who just want to continue on N.M. 14 will go through two sets of traffic lights.
• Southbound travelers on N.M. 14 who want to get onto southbound I-25 will still veer right onto an on-ramp; northbound travelers on N.M. 14 who want to get onto northbound I-25 will still veer right to an on-ramp.
• Northbound drivers on N.M. 14 aiming to travel south the interstate and southbound drivers aiming to travel north on the interstate will have to pass through a signaled intersection before reaching an on-ramp, reducing the chance of a collision.
By: Chris Quintana (Santa Fe New Mexican)
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