County asks drivers of heavy vehicles to avoid Lee Acres bridge
County Commission will discuss bridge replacement plan during meeting on Tuesday
FARMINGTON — San Juan County officials have asked commercial traffic to avoid the bridge over the San Juan River on County Road 5500 in the Lee Acres area.
County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said the load rating for the bridge has been decreased from 22 tons to 13 tons, or 26,000 pounds. The speed limit on both sides of the bridge also has been decreased from 35 mph to 25 mph, and signs warning drivers about the new weight limit have been posted.
The county is planning on replacing the aging bridge, which was built by farmers who lived in the area, in the 1970s. The County Commission will hear a proposal at 4 p.m. Tuesday to use $4.5 million of bond money to build a new bridge.
The commission meets at the county offices at 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec. There also will be a community meeting about the planned project at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the multi-use building at McGee Park.
Carpenter said replacing bridges is a challenge for governments because of the cost.
"It costs more for bridge infrastructure than any other capital item," he said.
Carpenter said the county is being proactive about replacing the bridge.
"We know that this bridge is extremely vital," he said.
Because fire trucks weigh more than 26,000 pounds, the county is looking at locations on the south side of the San Juan River where it can store firetrucks so it will not be necessary for them to cross the aging, narrow bridge to respond to calls.
In other news, the Bloomfield City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday. Aztec and Farmington will have city meetings at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Farmington council will discuss allocating federal Community Development Block Grant money to capital projects. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Farmington have asked for $250,000 for an expansion of its teen center.
According to the organization's proposal, there has been a 33 percent increase in membership over the past three years. Three years ago, about 1,760 children attended the Boys & Girls Clubs. Currently, the clubs have about 2,640 members. In addition to that overall increase in membership, the organization has seen a 48 percent increase in teenage members over the past three years, according to the proposal.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.