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New Mexico receives road money as part of WIPP settlement

Leonard Tapia
September 26, 2017 07:09 PM

CARLSBAD, N.M. -- It's about eight months since nuclear waste started moving down the roads of southern New Mexico again. It was a welcome sight for many people in and around Carlsbad.

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The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was closed for about three years after a fire and radiation spill. A settlement with the feds in 2014 over the incident netted $74 million for New Mexico. Now $27 million of the settlement is going towards improvements everyday people can see.

 "The money is earmarked for projects all along the WIPP routes,” said Dave Sepich, a New Mexico Department of Transportation commissioner

That money will be used to improve the roads used to transport waste to WIPP. A 13-mile stretch of the north WIPP access road has already been repaired.

Other highways and access roads from Vaughn to Roswell to Carlsbad are scheduled for repaving or simple patchwork within the coming weeks.

"The WIPP project is an important part of our economy in southeast New Mexico, and it's very important to do everything we can to make it as safe as possible," Sepich said.

In the end, a total of 180 miles of New Mexico highways are expected to be repaired.

"This money will go a long way," Sepich said. "Of course, there's never enough money fix roads in southeast New Mexico because of the amount of truck traffic we have, but it will go a long way.

Credits

Leonard Tapia

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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