Quay County building new bridge next to historic bridge on Route 66

Updated: Aug. 29, 2019 at 5:18 PM CDT
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QUAY COUNTY, N.M. (KFDA) - The State of New Mexico is receiving $50 million to repair roads and bridges.

After years of asking for funding, Quay County received $3 million to build a low water crossing right next to an historic bridge on Route 66.

According to the Bridge Inspection Report, there are 99 vehicles per day that travel across the bridge.

When I-40 is blocked off for a crash or during winter snow, vehicles are often rerouted onto this bridge.

The current wooden, one lane bridge is 88-years-old and is no longer safe for semi-trucks or modern day traffic.

“We’ve had a couple instances where people were traveling west and east, and no place for them to go, and we had to back them up quite a ways, so it poses a safety concern for sure," said Quay County Road Superintendent Larry Moore.

Construction is set to start soon to hopefully beat the winter snow.

Many residents, along with county officials, have been writing letters about the need for a new bridge since at least 2007, so residents are excited to have finally received the funding to do so.

“August 15, we went to the State Transportation Commissions meeting, and they approved the funding,” said Moore. “So we are pretty happy about it. It’s something that we needed for a long time.”

The existing bridge will remain, and the new low water crossing will be right next to it. There will also be a place to park so tourists can stop to take pictures.

After construction begins on this bridge, Quay County is hoping to receive funding to build another low water crossing up the road.

The City of Tucumcari has waited a while to get 2nd Street all spruced up, as this road used to butt up to historic Route 66. They have started a few smaller projects, but with the new money coming from the state, the city hopes to find a contractor to make the street safer.

“We’ve got to remove the existing asphalt,” said Moore. “This street actually has underlying concrete underneath it, so we’ve got to remove that, as well as fixing utilities and bring the sub-base back up paving, some curb and gutter in some places, some sidewalk and curbs on all the corners that we have to fix, so it’s a pretty comprehensive job.”

Both Quay County and the City of Tucumcari residents are excited to get things fixed up, bring jobs to the area and make the roads safe for those who travel on them.

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