Big Idea

by Wil Dooley, P.E., Div. Bridge Engr.; Federal Highway Admin., Albuquerque, NM,
Steve Harris, P.E., Dist. Engr.; Albuquerque and central New Mexico, New Mexico State Highway and Transp. Dept. (NMSHTD), Albuquerque, NM,
Kathie Leyendecker, Community Relations Dir.; NMSHTD, Albuquerque, NM,
Bill Moore, P.E., Proj. Engr.; Albuquerque Ofc. of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas, Inc., Albuquerque, NM,
Mike Plese, P.E., Tech. Support Engr.; NMSHTD, Albuquerque, NM,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2002, Vol. 72, Issue 4, Pg. 40-45

Document Type: Feature article


The reconstruction of the Big I—the intersection of interstate routes 25 and 40 in Albuquerque that was named for its appearance from the sky—was likely to disrupt commuters and interstate traffic for several years and aggravate local business owners in the process. So the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department (NMSHTD) and the local office of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) decided to work closely together in an extraordinary effort to complete the $220 million project in just two years. By assigning key members of the NMSHTD and the FHWA—as well as the design and construction teams—to meet weekly to address any problems ahead of time, the stakeholders worked diligently toward their deadline. The contractor also located its asphalt plant closer than normal to the project site to save time, and worked for schedule-dependent fees that added an incentive to keep the project moving forward. Outreach to local residents and businesses—through public meetings, an interactive Web site, and on-line access to team members—helped ease their pain during the reconstruction process. The project management procedures worked to bring the project to completion on time and on budget, and now serves as a model to other states and agencies working on similar interchange reconstruction projects across the country.

Subject Headings: Project management | Federal government | Public information programs | Intersections | Routing (transportation) | Commute | Traffic management | Owners | New Mexico | United States

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