Residents questioning quality of road repair

Posted at: 05/08/2013 10:01 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Bumpy and rigid are not what you would expect on a road that has just been paved, but it is how people are describing how a stretch of Highway 47, between Belen and Mountainair, feels. Those who drive it are outraged, questioning why a road they say that did not even need visible repairing was ever touched in the first place.

With the mountains, fresh air, and open country road, Luis Rosas and his wife, Jean Sawyer-Rosas said, there is nothing like it; but by that, they really mean, "this road is 20 times worse than what it was."

"Kidneys are hurting, we all have old trucks, trucks are slamming and bumping, this is not a good thing," Jean said. "We need the road to be put in according to the standard it should be."

Freshly paved asphalt would typically mean a much smoother ride, but Luis and Jean said, the old stuff is actually better than the new.

The couple took KOB Eyewitness News 4 along for a ride, to feel just how bad it is.

"This project that we did out there, regardless of how people perceive it to be, is necessary in order to maintain the integrity of the roadway," New Mexico Department of Transportation Spokesman Phil Gallegos said.

Gallegos said $700,000 has already been invested in the work, part one of a two-phase project.

"Our biggest concern is the waste of taxpayer dollars," Jean said.

This will all be smoothed out in the new fiscal year, Gallegos said, when they will have more money for an outside contractor to finish the job.

"This couldn't have been done all at once," Gallegos said. "This step had to be taken as an intermediary step, prior to the next step, which is another part of the application process."

Gallegos blames the current condition of the road partly on a technical malfunction also.

"We had a piece of equipment that failed," Gallegos said. "We had to rent another piece of equipment that wasn't as suited to this job as maybe we should have had."

"When they realize that the project is not coming out as top-quality, they need to stop and get the proper equipment," Jean said. "We have to take this road to go into town. If you've got an uneven road that's like a washboard and you have a cow fall down, you've got a problem."