By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 11/22/19
When seconds count, an ambulance cannot be held up by unexpected traffic or be blocked by road reconstruction right in front of their headquarters. That’s why American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR) at 920 S. Valley Drive made changes before the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) Valley Drive project even started.
“We’ve had very positive interaction with the NMDOT supervisors,” said Marc Lopez, AMR Operations Manager for Southern NM. “We reached out and they came for a quick meeting with us and have been very responsive to any needs we have had over the past several months.”
American Medical Response, Inc., is a medical transportation company with offices all across the country. They provide and manage community-based medical transportation services, including emergency, non-emergency and managed transportation, fixed-wing air ambulance and disaster response.
Lopez continued, “In Las Cruces, emergency response has not been impacted at all by the Valley Drive project. NMDOT let us know when and how access might shift during the road reconstruction and have been very helpful.” He added that the ambulances and staff made some changes during shifts, relying more heavily on two other locations in Las Cruces for resupplying and deployment.
“We’ve had Las Cruces Utilities out to work with us on the gas lines that came right under our parking lot and we explained to our employees that for a day they’d have to park across the street,” said Lopez. “We know that it’s an inconvenience, but it has to get done and will get done.”
The end is clearly in sight. Ryan Tafoya, NMDOT Project Manager for District 1, says, “We are getting close to the end of the project. We should be wrapping up the Valley Drive project mid to late March.”
“We will also start paving the southbound lanes within the next couple of weeks, and urge businesses to stay in contact with us to make sure they have the best possible access. We’ve tried to provide the least amount of impact to business while we finish up.”
For business access problems, contact Tafoya directly at 575-418-7891. You can also head out to the next NMDOT public meeting to stay informed. It will be on Tuesday, November 19th, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. - but starting to run shorter as the project winds down - at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Avenue.
The final phase of the NMDOT Valley Drive road reconstruction is scheduled for completion in early 2020. The City of Las Cruces encourages residents to continue supporting local businesses on Valley Drive. More information about monthly Valley Drive update meetings at www.valleydrive.net.
PHOTO 1: American Medical Response on Valley Drive has worked with NMDOT and adjusted ambulances to other Las Cruces locations, to continue providing emergency response to the Las Cruces community even during the road reconstruction of Valley Drive.