SANTA FE ― Gov. Susana Martinez has announced that road improvements will begin on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) route roads in Southeastern New Mexico.
The improvements are part of the state’s 2014 settlement with the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Since the radiation leak in 2014, I have been fighting for the money for improvements to our state’s WIPP routes. It’s important to hold the federal government accountable and also make sure New Mexicans and our state’s visitors are safe and secure on these roads,” Martinez said. “I’m excited that these projects will begin very soon and look forward to continuing to improve our relationship with WIPP.”
Last year, the Governor announced the state had received nearly $27 million for improvements to WIPP routes.
The routes that will see pavement preservation projects in 2018 include:
- NM 176 from mile marker 37.5 to mile marker 41
- US 285 southbound from mile marker 158 to mile marker 172.5
- US 285 southbound from mile marker 145.9 to mile marker 158
- US 285 northbound from mile marker 55 to mile marker 63.25
The 2018 repairs will begin on N.M. 176 sometime this spring, then on U.S. 285 between Roswell and Vaughn. The final two projects will follow in the coming months.
The routes that are scheduled to have pavement preservation projects in 2019 include:
- US 285 northbound from mile marker 92.9 to mile marker 101.6
- US 285 southbound from mile marker 96.3 to mile marker 101.6
- US 285 southbound from mile marker 55 to mile marker 63.25
- NM 18 from mile marker 41.6 to mile marker 47.8
- US285/US60 from mile marker 256.7 to mile marker 263.5
“Improving WIPP roads and making sure they are safe for travel is one of our top priorities,” NMDOT Cabinet Secretary Tom Church said. “We’re ready to get to work and make the necessary improvements.”
“These projects will help ensure the future safety and success of these facilities, the people who work at them, and their local communities,” said Environment Department Cabinet Secretary Butch Tongate.
Following the February 2014 fire and radiation leak at WIPP, Governor Martinez and her Administration moved swiftly to hold the federal government accountable to correct major procedural problems that contributed to the incidents. After extensive negotiations, the Martinez Administration reached the largest settlement ever between a state and the U.S. Department of Energy, providing for $74 million for projects in and around Carlsbad and Los Alamos to prioritize the safety of workers, surrounding communities, and the environment.