N14: More paving, roundabout (someday)

The state Department of Transportation is about to begin a paving project to redo North 14 from Interstate 40 to Frost Road, part of a three-phase process that could ultimately include a roundabout at Frost.

According to published plans, the entire project includes three phases of road resurfacing and slope stabilization. Re-engineering the intersection of North 14, Frost Road and N.M. 536 (the Crest Road) is also under consideration as part of the project.

District 3 engineer for DOT, Kenneth Murphy, said that last year the first phase resurfaced the southern two miles of the 6-mile stretch. Beginning in early March, Phase 2 will complete two more miles, from mile post 2 to mile post 4, he said.

The project will resurface the road, reconstruct curbs and gutters, reconstruct drainage structures, construct ADA-compliant ramps and redo the paved trail on the east side of the road, according to Murphy.

Slope stabilization is needed, according to the plan, on the east side of North 14 from mile post 3.5 to 4.2. Exactly when that part of the project is addressed, Murphy said, will depend on funding.

The project plan identifies Phase 3 of the project for redoing North 14 from mile post 4 to Frost Road. Murphy said funding for that phase has not been secured and will determine when the work is done.

Re-engineering the intersection of North 14 and Frost Road “will probably be its own phase because it’s a pretty significant project to redo that intersection and pieces of Frost Road and 536,” Murphy said.

A public meeting was held at Vista Grande in July 2017 to inform the public and gather input for the project.

A study of the intersection by WSP Engineering completed April 2018 considered that input as well as an evaluation of five different designs and the option to do nothing.

Designs were evaluated on clarifying driver confusion, traffic demands and growth looking ahead to 2040, safety, constructability, right-of-way needs, driveway access, pedestrian and bicycle use, seasonal maintenance, cost and environmental factors, the study says.

The study’s concluding recommendations were to either do nothing or construct a roundabout intersection. “Keep in mind the final part of it is actually selecting it [the roundabout],” Murphy said, adding, “It’s a recommendation at this point. There will be more meetings about it.”