Lane reduction planned for Lee Acres bridge
Traffic signals will help guide drivers across structure
FARMINGTON — San Juan County Commission voted Tuesday to narrow the bridge on County Road 5500 in Lee Acres to a single lane.
The bridge’s weight limit was downgraded last year due to its deteriorating condition. The bridge was built in the 1970s by local residents and has been targeted for replacement.
When the county downgraded the weight limit, it asked commercial traffic to avoid crossing the bridge. The county also reduced the speed limit to 25 mph over the bridge.
When reached by phone Wednesday, County Executive Officer Kim Carpenter said commercial traffic has continued to cross the bridge, and there are a lot of speed violations. He said the sheriff’s office already has increased patrols at the bridge.
“We’ve actually had cars going 70 miles per hour across that thing,” Carpenter said.
In addition to reducing the lanes, the county will install a traffic control light. The traffic signal will use vehicle sensors to reduce wait time.
Carpenter said the county hopes the change will be implemented within the next three weeks.
While it could be inconvenient to some residents, Carpenter said the change will make the bridge safer.
“It beats the alternative of that bridge collapsing and being closed for years,” he said.
The lane reduction would be temporary until the bridge is replaced. Design for the bridge replacement is underway, but construction is not estimated to start until 2019.
The reduction in lanes and installation of two temporary traffic signals is estimated to cost about $60,000.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.