County OK’s key step to Spaceport America southern road

LAS CRUCES – An improved southern road to Spaceport America is edging closer to reality with a recent approval by the Doña Ana County commission.

And one more authorization — expected to be the last before Doña Ana County can go forward with the bid process leading to construction — is likely to come in January, officials said. Construction could start late spring or early summer of 2017 on the 24-mile route, officials said.

An improved southern road to Spaceport America is believed to be key to Doña Ana County benefiting economically from the spaceport and important to the spaceport’s success because it would drastically cut the drive time to the southeastern Sierra County facility from Las Cruces, the nearest large city.

Doña Ana County commissioners in mid-December OK’d an agreement with several government entities involved in the southern-road project that spells out its parameters and how historical and cultural sites will be protected during construction.

“There are still some administrative things that have to happen, some things that have to be reviewed and signed and approved,” said County Manager Julia Brown. “But if there are no further speed bumps in the road, no pun intended, we expect we’ll be in the position to issue an RFP (request for proposals) for a construction contract in the spring. And then, after the appropriate review of that, we should be able to see the start of construction either late spring or at the very beginning of the summer.”

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