La Plata resident says potholes have created dangerous situations, damaged vehicles

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FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Department of Transportation sent crews to patch potholes on N.M. Highway 574 this week, according to spokeswoman Rosanne Rodriguez.

The highway begins in La Plata and becomes North Light Plant Road in Aztec near Koogler Junior High School. There are several portions of the 14-mile road that have large potholes.

La Plata resident Matt Ruiz drives N.M. Highway 574 twice a day to get from his house to his work in Bloomfield and back again. This daily commute has taken a toll on his vehicle, Ruiz said. He said potholes on the highway have caused major damage to his cars.

"Every year, it just gets worse and worse and worse," Ruiz said.

Over the weekend, Ruiz said he hit a pothole and blew a tire. He said this is the third time potholes have damaged his car. The potholes destroyed the shocks on one of his cars and broke the constant velocity axle on another car.

Ruiz said the condition of the deteriorating pavement makes the highway extremely unsafe. Some people swerve into other lanes to dodge potholes, but if a car is coming from the opposite direction, drivers are forced to hit the potholes.

Rodriguez said repairing the surface of the highway is not on the state's transportation improvement plan. She said NMDOT district five, which covers San Juan County, is looking at using recycled millings on a maintenance project in the summer of 2018.

NMDOT's state transportation improvement program plan lists one project for the highway — an estimated $3 million bridge replacement where the road spans the La Plata River about three-tenths of a mile from the intersection with N.M. Highway 170.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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