Los Lunas river bridge

LOS LUNAS — Work has officially begun on a new river bridge on Main Street in Los Lunas.

Isaac Chavez, the project manager from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said there is currently a survey team on site and the crew has begun clearing the path where the work will take place for the new bridge.

“Most of the new bridge construction will be constructed off-set and just to the north of the existing bridge until it is time to connect into the existing roadway,” Chavez said in an e-mail.

“For the next few weeks, until late December, we will continue to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction (on the bridge) as most of the work will be done in the river.”

Chavez said the department has been monitoring and inspecting the bridge for years and now have the funds to replace it.

A few years ago, NMDOT began a study of the conditions of the Los Lunas bridge and found that while the bridge is still functional, it’s old and in poor condition.

Built in 1974, about 26,000 vehicles travel across the river bridge on a daily basis.

Los Lunas river bridge

The NMDOT-recommended N.M. 6 Rio Grande replacement bridge in Los Lunas is the curved north side alignment and would be completed in 2021.

As it stands now, the bridge can’t be rehabilitated further because structurally it no longer meets current design standards, said Jim Buckman in 2017, project engineer with William Sale Partnership/Parsons Brinckerhoff engineering consultants.

The bridge was rehabilitated in 2013 to extend its life until the bridge could be replaced.

“The bridge is classified as structurally deficient; it has some issues that need to be addressed,” Buckman said.

The old bridge would be demolished after the new one is completed so there would be continued driver access with very little noticeable impact to traffic on Main Street, Buckman said.

The overall cost is $18,490,159. Chavez said the National Highway Performance Program is funding about $16 million and the state is funding the rest.

“NMDOT is committed to keep traffic flowing through the project safely. Please be patient. NMDOT plans to finish as soon as possible, but work time frames can be delayed based on inclement weather and river water levels,” Chavez said.

Weather and river water level permitting, this project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021.

Light parade route change

Because of the construction, this year’s Los Lunas Christmas Electric Light Parade will have an altered route.

Village of Los Lunas recreation supervisor Marcos Castillo said people can start lining up to watch the parade near Daniel Fernandez Memorial Park On N.M. 314, where it will begin and continue north on 314, then head west on Main St. to end at Emilio Lopez Rd. in front of Starbucks.

Castillo said his team met with the Los Lunas Police Department to find the best and safest route for the parade.

“Since the bridge is under construction, the New Mexico Department of Transportation has a policy where they do not approve special event permits in a construction zone,” Castillo said.

There will be a detour route to avoid the parade that begins on Camelot Blvd. going south to Morris Road, then east and through to Los Lentes Road.

“We know it will cause some inconvenience for people that aren’t used to it, but we imagine the disruption will be minor,” Castillo said.

The line-up area for parade participants will be at Daniel Fernandez Memorial Park and judges will be stationed at Main Street Memorial Park.

The parade will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7.

If you have any questions call 352-7662 or email castillom@loslunasnm.gov.

Staff Writer

Anna Padilla is a native of Los Lunas, and is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. She began her journalism career with the VCNB in May 2019. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, SODA and the town of Peralta.

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