By Marty Mayfield
The New Mexico Department of Transportation sponsored a town hall type meeting to present the new design for the south I-25 Interchange Tuesday evening at the Raton Convention Center.
Concerns raised by Raton residents included signage, lighting and making the interchange as welcoming as possible to invite travelers off the interstate and into Raton. Ivan Trujillo with the NMDOT has been with the project since its inception in 2009. He presented a overview of the new design and then took questions and concerns about the project from those attending the meeting.
Among the concerns was signage and that the signage be big enough to inform travelers that the exit was coming up. Lighting of the signs and the exits as well as the new intersections that will be added to the project was a concern brought up by Kathy McQuery indicating the if it wasn’t inviting with adequate lighting that people may not want to venture further into town.
Ed Eagan, owner of Raton Sign Company spoke adamantly about the signage coming off of the interstate. He felt that the lack of signage and improper signage was the reason that more traffic did not get off the interstate at the north and south exits into Raton. He also noted as did McQuery that the signage was important to Raton’s economic development plans.
The project is slated to be let out for bid in September. Depending on the contractor work could begin as soon as November but more likely construction work would begin in the spring and scheduled to be completed in the fall of next year. During the construction one of the concerns brought up was the need to keep the interchange open as much as possible due to the economic hardship closing the exits could bring to south Raton.
The Video gives an overview of the project.