Proposed studies using Carrasco Road as link for two major highways south of Carlsbad continued as Eddy County mulled solutions for increased traffic in the area.
The County, Stantec Engineering Services and Carlsbad’s CEHMM Environmental Services are still in the process of identifying potential alternatives, conducting public meetings and evaluating options for the rest of 2022 read information from a July 12 public meeting.
According to studies, traffic delays increased along U.S. Highway 285 and Derrick Road and U.S. 285 and Carrasco Road.
Multiple proposals indicated a desire to use Carrasco Road as a link between U.S. 285 and U.S. Highway 62/180 alleviating traffic congestions south of Carlsbad.
A safety study conducted indicated the number of crashes from 2016 to 2020 decreased from 24 percent during the first year of the study to 12 percent in the last year of the study.
The study noted 41 percent of crashes occurred on U.S. 285 and U.S. 62/180. Twenty-five percent of crashes happened at East Derrick Road and U.S. 285 and 21 percent of crashes took place at U.S. 285 and the intersection with Carrasco Road.
Forty three percent of crashes were undetermined during the study period and 74 percent of crashes resulted in property damage. Two percent of the crashes resulted in deaths.
Connecting U.S. 285, New Mexico State Road 31 and U.S. 62/180 would provide a fluid transportation system around the City of Carlsbad, according to a presentation from the July 12 public meeting.
“And relieve congestion caused by traffic volumes due to increases in oil and gas activity,” read information from the meeting.
Extending Carrasco Road would enhance economic development with improved access and traffic operations by minimizing travel times.
Carrasco Road would provide an east-west relief route to ”avoid forcing heavy truck traffic onto narrow county residential and city streets,” according to meeting notes.
“Planning is coming along and we are ahead of schedule at this time,” said Eddy County Community Services Director Wesley Hooper.
Eddy County projected a $25 million cost of the Carrasco Road extension from fiscal year 2024 to fiscal year 2027, read an Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) approved July 19 by the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners.
The ICIP is a guide for New Mexico Legislators to determine which projects around the State receive money for infrastructure work.
Another stakeholder and public meeting were scheduled for November.
“We will continue having public and stakeholder meetings throughout the planning process. As important things come up these meeting will be scheduled,” Hooper said.