Delayed again: Finish date for U.S. 64 project pushed back 2 more weeks

Added work, weather blamed for holding up completion

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Drivers who were looking forward to the end of construction on a section of U.S. Highway 64 between Farmington and Bloomfield will have to wait a little longer for the rebuilt road to open fully.

The project's completion date originally was scheduled for the middle of this month. But Jim Murray, the public information officer for District 5 of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said project officials are now saying that added work and weather delays have pushed back the opening date to the end of the month. The nature of the added work was not specified.

Work on the $34.7 million project began in November 2018. It covers a stretch of the highway extending from just east of the intersection of County Road 5500/County Road 350 to just east of Browning Parkway in Farmington.

Construction barriers line the lines at the intersection of U.S. Highway 64 and County Road 550/County Road 350 on Aug. 12, 2020. The completion date for the rebuilt stretch of highway has been extended to the end of September.

The main purpose of the project has been to widen the highway from two lanes to three in each direction. It includes full road reconstruction, raised medians, right- and left-turn bays, drainage structure extensions and access management. During construction, the speed limit has been lowered from 55 mph to 35 mph, and traffic has been limited to one lane in each direction.

Another section of the highway already has been widened to three lanes in each direction east to Bloomfield. State officials have said the flow of traffic along the corridor will be much improved when the new section is complete.

More:U.S. Highway 64 widening project enters final month of work

Over the last month, workers have installed new traffic signals and striped the lanes. Work on erosion control on the highway right of way continues.

This is the second time the project's completion date has been moved. It originally was set for Aug. 31, but Murray said last month that date had been extended by a couple of weeks after several drainage issues were discovered during the excavation process. He said then no further delays were anticipated, but that turned out not to be the case.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.

A steamroller smooths recently laid asphalt on U.S. Highway 64 just east of Andrea Drive on Aug. 12, 2020.