Gov. Susana Martinez announces funds that will complete Highway 64 project

Dan Schwartz The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Gov. Susana Martinez announced millions of dollars in funding on Monday for five state highway projects, one of which has been under design or construction in San Juan County for 10 years.

In the recent special session, legislators and Martinez agreed to allocate $45 million in capital outlay funds to pay for the highway improvements. The state pooled that money with federal highway funds for a total of about $90 million, Martinez spokesman Mike Lonergan said.

Now the fifth and final phase of the project to expand U.S. Highway 64 to six lanes between Bloomfield and Farmington is fully funded. That's good news for Bloomfield officials.

"We had some struggles there for about three years," Mayor Scott Eckstein said.

One phase of the project in Bloomfield was scheduled to take about 18 months, but it took more than three years, he said. The construction cut into shopping in the city because customers struggled to access businesses, he said.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation finished the project's first phase in 2009 and is schedule to begin seeking contractors for its final phase in August 2017, department spokeswoman Rosanne Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was unable to say how much the first phase cost, but she provided the approximate costs for phases two through four. Phase two cost $16.4 million, phase three cost $11.9 million and phase four cost $11 million, she said.

Lonergan said phase five is estimated to cost $22 million, $5.8 million of which will be funded by this year's capital outlay allocations.

"Farmington and San Juan County are part of New Mexico's continuing economic growth," he said in an email. "This project is needed because it is a key corridor for commercial traffic, and a well-traveled route that has been under design or construction for the last ten years."

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.