On a lonely stretch of old Route 66 between San Jon and Tucumcari nearly 80 people gathered Tuesday morning to take part in a ceremony that would serve as the first step to put the road back into use. Tuesday had been set aside by state officials as the official ground breaking for the repairs to the Revuelto Bridge on the “Mother Road.”
According to the District Engineer who will be overseeing the improvements to the bridge, Severiano Sisneros the passion for the project came as something of a surprise to him and his office and that is why work is beginning on it in under a year rather than the usual three or four years.
“I have never had as many phone calls about a project as I had about this one in my entire life,” said Sisneros about the reaction to the closing down of the small bridge over the small Revuelto Creek. “When we close down a bridge in Albuquerque we don’t hear anything, people just say, ‘well, we’ll just go over to Manaul’…but out here, I heard from everybody.”
He said he now realizes just how important both the bridge and the road are to the area. He recognizes how farmers use it to move equipment and avoid going on the interstate, how the elderly and young use it to avoid the faster and heavier traffic of the interstate and how locals can cut miles off trips to town.
He said that it also makes travel possible for school buses and emergency vehicles trying to get to ranchers in the area.
Assistant District Engineer Peter McDonald predicted that the bridge would be open within “60 to 70 days.”
San Jon Village Administrator Bobbye Rose who was on hand for the speeches and digging the ceremonial first shovelful of dirt to kick off the project said she is looking forward to the ribbon cutting of the bridge in the predicted 70 days.
Her sentiment was echoed by Quay County Commissioner Franklin McCasland in whose district the bridge lies.
“I think it is a great thing they are starting this,” said McCasland. This is a vital road for the farming and ranching community.”