Work begins on bridge

TV Hagenah

Tuesday, April 20 will see work officially beginning at the Revuelto Creek Bridge on Old Route 66 between Tucumcari and San Jon.

According to New Mexico Department of Transportation Spokesperson Christina Romero, April 20 at 10 a.m. will be the day and time for the official ground-breaking ceremony which will inaugurate the beginning of work on the bridge which has been closed for just over 10 months when it was deemed unsafe for vehicular traffic because of structural wear and tear.

Quay County Commissioner Jeffrey Lewalling in whose district the bridge is located said he was pleased to receive the information that work was finally beginning but was a bit upset that it had taken so long to get anyone moving on the project. “We had hoped they would move on it faster,” said Lewalling. “It is not just a question of access for people to get in and out of town more easily, which is a factor, of course, but it is also a question of safety. Ambulances and fire trucks need to get to people as quickly as they can and with bridge closed they can’t.”

Lewalling said he and the other Quay County Commissioners had regularly been on the phone to the appropriate departments of the state government in Santa Fe and to state senators and representatives to get something done about the bridge “and finally it seems it has,” said Lewalling.

Quay County Road Superintendent Harry Heckendorn said he too was pleased that something would be getting started regarding the closed bridge. “I’m happy that they’re are getting started on this,” said Heckendorn. “It’s not as quick as we wanted it to happen, but they are getting started. That’s something.” Engineers from the state highway office originally stated that once work started on the bridge it could be completed in as little as 30 days barring problems that might arise.

According to spokespeople from both the Mother Road Rally which is scheduled for Tucumcari in June and the Route 66 Festival which is scheduled for Tucumcari in July, the information about the possibility of a quick completion is good news since many individuals involved in their celebrations enjoy entering the city from the east on old Route 66.