SANTA FE, May 9, 2023 – The City of Santa Fe Public Works Department is nearing completion of the design phase for the repairs of the closed section of West Alameda and anticipates a final design approval at the end of next week. After design approval, the construction contractor, procured using an on-call contract with the City, will develop the construction timeline and cost. The timeline is dependent on the final design, material lead times, and construction methods. The current rough estimate for reopening is August 2023.
The City will hold an informational community meeting to present information regarding the project and discuss details regarding the timeline on Tuesday, May 30. Meeting time, location, and additional agenda details will be announced closer to the date.
The road closures at Calle Nopal and the Siler Roundabout will remain in place until the repairs are fully completed. Please allow extra travel time if navigating around the detours and seek alternate routes whenever possible.
Does the City or County have jurisdiction for the road?
- The road became a City road when the City annexed the adjacent land to the south of West Alameda in 2013. As part of an MOU with the County regarding roadways impacted by the annexation, the need for improvements to West Alameda drainage and roadway were identified.
- The City has carried a project on the capital plan to reconstruct West Alameda roadway and drainage for at least three years, and in preparation for that project, completed the West Alameda Drainage Study in 2021. That study will be utilized in the design of the repairs needed to fix the collapsed section of the roadway.
Why did the culvert on West Alameda fail?
- The culvert appeared to have failed because there was no outfall structure and no downstream armoring of the channel. Because of this, water leaving the culvert could undercut the structure, which over the years caused erosion which led to the collapse. When Santa Fe County owned the road, they performed a road widening project during which they extended the culvert but did not install an outflow structure and downstream armoring.
When did it collapse and what was done? Why couldn’t it be repaired, even temporarily?
- On Thursday, March 30, at approximately 5:30 am, the Public Works Streets Maintenance Crew discovered that a box culvert near 2530 West Alameda had failed, and half of the northbound lane of the road had caved in. The road was immediately closed to thru traffic. Over the course of the morning, both of the 60” concrete culverts failed, and sections fell into the arroyo, causing further structural failure of the roadway above. The damage was extensive enough that repair was not possible, and a new box culvert would need to be designed and constructed.
- To stabilize the site and leave it in a safe condition, the Public Works Department employed GM Emulsion, the on-call construction contractor, to remove the broken pavement, excavate the box culvert and prepare the site for construction of the replacement project. However, no further work can proceed at the site until a design for the replacement culvert and surrounding structure has been completed and approved, a purchase order for the construction has been issued, and construction materials secured.
What is happening now?
- WSP bridge engineer Ray Trujillo, PE, has been issued a purchase order to design the replacement culvert. Mr. Trujillo worked on the City’s West Alameda Drainage Study completed in 2021 and is familiar with the box culvert. Design is expected to be complete by the end of next week.
- The on-call contractor, GM Emulsion, is using preliminary design documents to begin developing the construction cost and schedule estimates. The team expects to have the construction cost estimate and schedule by the end of May. Other actions being taken to expedite reopening include coordinating with utilities that may need to be relocated and utilizing standard rebar instead of custom rebar in the design, which will reduce material lead times. GM Emulsion has committed to beginning the work as soon as possible and working long days and possibly employing multiple crews at a time to accelerate the construction timeline.
What will this cost and how will it be funded?
- The purchase order for design was issued for $90K. Estimates of cost and schedule to construct the replacement culvert are expected to be available by the end of May. Staff will bring a budget adjustment request to the Governing Body to fund the construction and issue a purchase order for construction. Since this project combines roadway and stormwater infrastructure improvements, the Stormwater Fund, funded by the stormwater fee on utility customers’ bills, will pay for a portion and it is expected that the construction will be funded by 0.25% GRT dedicated to infrastructure operations and improvements.
- The culvert replacement project will reconstruct the area of the site to meet the future needs of the improved roadway to be built during the larger West Alameda Capital Improvement Project, which will include bike lanes and a sidewalk. It will not need to be redone when the larger project is undertaken.
When will the roadway reopen?
- The project team is roughly estimating opening in August, but until the design is complete and construction schedule and materials lead time confirmed, this is a tentative date.