Juan Rodriguez directs traffic during the ceremony to dedicate the College Boulevard extension, Tuesday morning. Mark Wilson Photo
An integral improvement to Roswell’s infrastructure, the West College Boulevard extension project, marked its near-completion, Tuesday, with a dedication ceremony, “a sign of the kind of progressive activities that the city of Roswell has been engaged in for a long time,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said. The 1.7-mile stretch connects College Boulevard, to the Relief Route.
The $4 million project began on Oct. 24, and the road officially opened to traffic on April 12. Forty percent of the funding came from the federal government, another 40 percent from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, and 20 percent from local matches, according to City Engineer, Louis Najar.
In 2005, money was earmarked within the federal government’s Highway Bill reauthorization for the project, thanks in large part to Bingaman’s efforts. The DOT receives around $300 million annually from the Highway Trust Fund, “which they then have the discretion to allocate,” Bingaman said. Money from the fund was used for the project.
The bid was awarded to Mountain States Constructors of Albuquerque, and the project was completed in 65 percent of contract time.
Mayor Del Jurney described the road as opening doors for “future growth opportunities that we have, not only for residential but for professional, for multi-family and for commercial as well. This is really going to give Roswell that chance, that opportunity that we talk about to expand and to grow and to bring the prosperity that we’re looking for in order to establish that sustainability for this community for years to come.”
College Boulevard is now considered an arterial, or commercial street, according to City Planner Michael Vickers. “We’ll probably see a mixture of commercial development along with some residential development in the future. … As a developer, when you go in and develop a lot or a site, you’re responsible for putting in those things (infrastructure). The road is already here. That’s one less cost burden on a developer.”
With tie-in work still to be done at the Relief Route, Najar estimated the project will end up costing $4.5 million before taxes.