US 180 is a US Highway in the US state of New Mexico. The road forms a north-south and east-west route through the southwest and southeast of the state, separated by a portion of Texas around El Paso. The road begins at Luna on the Arizona border and then runs through Silver City to I-10 for double numbering all the way to the Texas border. The second section runs in the southeast part of the state and is entirely double -numbered with US 62. The western part is 399 kilometers long, the eastern part 176 kilometers, for a total of 575 kilometers.
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US 180 at Silver City.
Southwestern New Mexico
US 180 in Arizona enters New Mexico from Eager, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. The road runs right through the San Francisco mountains at an altitude of about 2500 meters. The road then follows the valley of the San Francisco River before embarking on a long route to Silver City. There are mountain ranges on both sides of the road, and the road itself descends slowly towards the south. Silver City is a regional town, where one crosses the SR-90, the main road to Lordsburg. US 180 then also has 2×2 lanes of its own, and then runs to Deming in the southeast. The last part of 60 kilometers to Deming is straight. At Deming, US 180 merges into Interstate 10, which is already double-numbered with US 70since Lordsburg. The three routes then run through the steppes to Las Cruces, where US 70 exits toward Alamogordo. US 180 continues to follow I-10, which turns south after Las Cruces. Interstate 25 starts here and runs to Albuquerque. I-10 then follows the valley of the Rio Grande to the Texas border. US 180 in Texas follows I-10 through El Paso.
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Southeastern New Mexico
US 62/180 west of Hobbs.
Near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, US 180 in Texas enters New Mexico from El Paso in a mountainous desert region at about 1,200 feet. The road here has one lane in each direction, and runs for about 55 kilometers to the town of Carlsbad. Carlsbad is one of the larger towns in the New Mexico outback with a population of 27,000. It crosses US 285, the road from Roswell and Artesia to Pecos in Texas. From Carlsbad, US 62 has 2×2 lanes, and its remoteness and few connections make it much like a highway. One passes over desolate plains to the east, through an area where oil is extracted. About 110 kilometers east of Carlsbad you reach Hobbs, a city of 29,000 inhabitants. Here one crosses SR-18, a 2×2 highway from Lovington to Kermit, Texas. Just after Hobbs the border with Texas follows, the US 180 in Texas then continues to Lubbock.
The predecessor to US 62 is State Route 18 west of Hobbs and State Route 10 to the Texas border. State Route 11 was the predecessor on the western portion of the route, between the Arizona border and Deming.
US 180 was added to the network in 1944. The route then ran only from Weatherford, Texas to El Paso, Texas, and thus only through southeastern New Mexico. In 1962, the route was extended into Arizona, with US 180 also running in southwestern New Mexico and creating a double number with Interstate 10 in New Mexico. Here, US 180 took over US 260, which existed in New Mexico between 1935 and 1962.
When the route became a US Highway, the road was still completely unpaved on the eastern part of the route. In the first half of the 1930s, the first parts were asphalted, as approach roads to Carlsbad. The asphalting was slow at first, extending less than 10 miles from Carlsbad in 1935, but accelerating in the late 1930s, and by 1940 all of US 180 in southeastern New Mexico was paved.
In the 1960s, US 180 began widening into a 2×2 divided highway, initially only a section from Carlsbad to the east, a route of approximately 30 kilometers. Presumably in the second half of the 1970s, US 180 was widened to 2×2 lanes all the way to Hobbs, creating a divided highway 120 kilometers between Carlsbad and the Texas border. The part west of Carlsbad has not yet been widened.
The western portion of the route was paved around Silver City before it became a US Highway due to mining on site. By 1935 the section between Silver City and Deming had been paved. In the second half of the 1930s work started on asphalting the western part of the route, by 1938 half of the route between the border with Arizona and Silver City was already asphalted. However, the remote part through the Gila National Forest was not immediately paved, this was one of the last US Highways to be asphalted in New Mexico, it was not until 1957 that the entire route was asphalted.
The section from the Arizona border is very quiet with 500 vehicles, which remains stable until just before Silver City, where it increases to 2400 vehicles, and 15,000 vehicles through Silver City. There are 2,400 vehicles to Deming, and 17,000 vehicles on the double-numbered I-10 to Las Cruces, and 33,000 south of Las Cruces.
The section from the Texas border to Carlsbad is very quiet with 1,600 to 2,000 vehicles per day. Between Carlsbad and Hobbs, 3000 to 4000 vehicles per day on the 2×2 section, and 5000 vehicles cross the Texas border every day.