|Bridge on NM 434|
I have been working in one form or another on a series of articles about the New Mexico Department of Transportation announcement to widen a stretch of road I frequently travel. It will take them five years to widen eight miles of which five is too narrow for two way traffic. It is essentially a one lane road without adding logging and cattle trucks and tourists with RV's or flagmen.
For all the years I have lived here, approaching 20 in Black Lake, we all knew the road needed to be widened but we were sure it was impossible. The state engineers' office doesn't think so. The five year plan is afoot. And now it is not whether or not it is impossible but whether they can do it without a complete road closure for at least three years of that five. Frankly, I love that we have something other than politics and religion to discuss. Or for that matter the never ending discussion of widening of NM 64 over Palo Flechado Pass to Taos.
There are always the naysayers, "Can't be done." Or the doomsayers, "Mark my words, they will get in the middle of the project and funds will dry up." But I love most the armchair engineers, "What they need to do is not descend 1000 feet into the canyon but bridge over to the cliff face on the west and not come down until past the four bridges that cross the Coyote." This one is a personal favorite of mine. After all I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado when then widened the road through Glenwood Canyon and not only crossed the Colorado River and the train tracks but the two lanes heading the other direction several times. There was a detour for cars but they never shut down the Amtrak or freight trains.
Design/build is a more and more frequent method of letting difficult contracts. There will be three designs and three contracts let for this silly 20 feet wider the road needs. It is enough to make me want to live another six years. I want to see how they do it. But I have already picked out my detour route to Las Vegas, NM for shopping. I doubt the Angel Fire Resort and town employees who live in Guadalupita and Mora will want to travel all that many more miles, but it isn't all that much further if you just want to go the Las Vegas and you have a four wheel drive vehicle.
|Bridge over the Coyote Creek|
I have to admire the can-do attitude of the NMDOT. In comparison it has made the pessimists very obvious. And it isn't just the road they are negative about but so many more things in their lives. And in researching this road expansion I found the limitations I had set for myself as No Ways.
When I taught adaptive skiing to students with physical limitations we had a motto: Argue for your limitations and they are yours. That motto got me past my own ski accident and head injury. It is frightening how easily we can fall back into negative ways. After almost getting slammed by an inattentive driver or three researching those impossible eight miles and taking pictures I have had a paradigm shift in attitude.
I am excited about the next five years.