Aztec plans on building new truck route

Posted at: 03/17/2014 6:48 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The roar of diesel engines seemingly never stops. 

"The traffic is terrible," lifelong Aztec resident Jacob Garcia said. "Especially coming from Bloomfield and when you are headed toward Colorado."

Oilfield trucks of all sizes: Water trucks, Rig-up trucks, even whole drilling rigs are known to travel down Main Street in Aztec. Each one rumbling down the street, shaking the very foundations of some businesses.

Garcia points to a passing water tanker truck, "Basically, that's it. You see most of those."

He said he doesn't have a problem. This former trucker knows better than some that "They are just trying to do their job."

In Aztec, it's not uncommon to get stuck behind a big oilfield truck, but thanks to new funding, the city hopes that will be a thing of the past. The city has already started building what it calls an arterial route. It's a secondary road that heavy trucks can take to avoid causing congestion and damage through the city.

"The deterioration, the weight of the trucks and the volume of the trucks, they really impact the downtown buildings," said Josh Ray, Aztec's city manager.

The money to fund the project has come from federal and state grants. It's vital to ease congestion downtown.

"Plus it'll promote better safety traffic practices for the trucks coming through the area. They can get from point a to point b a lot faster if they use the arterial route," Ray said.

One section is done already and funding has been secured for two others. The final and largest phase is now halfway funded by $3.8 million from the six San Juan County legislators. Aztec leaders hope the project can be done by 2016.