The first highway design-build project ever issued by the New Mexico State Highway Transportation Department (NMSHTD), this transportation project involved the design and reconstruction of approximately 38 miles of US 70 between Ruidoso Downs and Riverside, New Mexico.
Part of the historic “Billy the Kid Scenic Byway,” the section of US 70 between Ruidoso Downs and Riverside is a highly traveled route. The existing curvy, two-lane highway presented safety challenges to the travelling public, resulting in 27 fatalities between 1998 and 2002. The new design smoothed out the terrain to provide a safer passage. In addition, weak rock and stiff soil required specialized design procedures.
Kleinfelder first completed detailed geomechanical mapping and design of hundreds of cut slopes for the 38-mile reconstruction at more than 125 window locations, then constructed a detailed geological map of the entire alignment, all while maintaining an aggressive drilling, sampling, and laboratory-testing program. Because of the height of existing road cuts and rugged desert terrain, the team used mountaineering techniques—including rock climbing and rappelling—to complete vertical line mapping and thoroughly assess the area.
By providing accurate and thorough mapping, field investigations, and multiple design techniques, Kleinfelder’s hardworking team ensured that NMSHTD was able to complete its first design-build project on schedule. More importantly, our solution reduced the risk for slope failure along the realigned highway.