Work Starts on NM State Rd. 583, Espanola’s “McCurdy Road”
By ROBERT NARANJO
Santa Cruz – McCurdy Road, (State Road 583) is the responsibility of the New Mexico Department of Transportation to maintain it as a safe road for motorists who use it. But when one drives the busy state road, and looks closely at the shape that it’s in, the road, quite frankly, has largely been ignored. This state road is a major arterial, within the city limits of Espanola. It has a high traffic volume for the condition that it’s in and complaints about the poor shape of the road on social media have illustrated just how bad it it is. Furthermore, NMDOT traffic engineers put blinking red lights at its intersection with Fairview Lane. That tells you engineers know that intersection is busy.
Espanola City Manager, Mark Trujillo told the City Council in May that he was meeting with the NM Highway Department engineers and staff in June to discuss NM 583 / McCurdy Road. Trujillo told the Council that in discussions prior to the June meeting, highway department staff, pointed out that the roadway was too narrow and thus little could be done to improve it. But there are narrow roads all over the state, like Agua Fria and Canyon Road in Santa Fe for example. Narrow roads there are seen as quaint and have historic value, reminiscent of a transportation era of New Mexico’s past. McCurdy road is quaint too!
But Trujllo was successful in his outreach and lobby to the highway department regarding McCurdy Road because on July 26, a crew was grading the dirt build-up on both sides of the road from La Iglesia de Santa Cruz de la Canada to the Fairview Lane intersection.
Photo shows cracks on asphalt, and this is where McCurdy Road is in better shape! Other sections of the road have uneven and rough asphalt. Note the amount of dirt being removed that has piled up over time. Photo by Robert A. Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
The crew moved roughly about a foot of dirt from the shoulders and could have bladed more but likely were under orders by engineers to blade just that much. On Wednesday, July 27, some of the bladed one foot space had dirt fall back in where it had been bladed . The road crew was gone. Rosanna Rodriguez, a highway department staffer, contacted on July 26, and asked to what extent NM 583/McCurdy Road in Espanola was going to see improvements. On July 27, she was reached again, and said that NM 583 was slated for “blade patching” and then put a reporter on hold while she looked for other work was planned for NM 583..
She returned and said, “There are no long range plans for it.” She gave the names of highway department staff who may know more. But, likely they’ll give the same answer–no long range plans for it.
NM 583/ McCurdy Road needs to have a long range plan. To not have one for such a busy state road is reprehensible and dangerous.. It could likely be a liability to the state due to its poor condition. It should not take lawsuits because someone suffered injury or worse due to the negligence of the state whose responsibility it is to maintain it as a safe road.
The good news is that NMDOT crews will working on McCurdy for a week long project doing “blade abridgement” also called “blade patching” by highway departments.
However, looking at it with the glass half full, the fact that the NMDOT Highway Department department crews will be doing blade abridgement will leave McCurdy much better and safer than it was before.
This photo of an NMDOT flagman alerting motorists of road work, is taken in front of the McCurdy Charter School. McCurdy Road has schools, churches, low income housing, moderate income housing and El Llano Road, La Joya Street, Fairview Lane, Valley Drive, and other intersecting streets that flow into it, making traffic higher than usual. Photo by Robert A. Naranjo/valleydailypost.com
Blade abridgement or patching is a term used in highway construction where patching of “large areas of damaged or deteriorated asphalt pavement using graders” is done as a maintenance technique according to the Transportation Research Board.
However, according to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine (NASEM) in their report, “Evaluation of Highway Blade-Patching (Abridgement), it found that, “The best estimate of blade-patch life is 3 years, and economic analysis comparing to a 2-inch hot mix overlay indicates that blade-patching should seldom be used if traffic exceeds 1,500 average daily traffic or if blade-patching required to maintain the pavement exceeds 125 tons/mi/year.”
Now the question is, does NM 583/McCurdy Road exceed either of those two guidelines that the NASEM found in its study.
At the very least, blade abridgement should be carried out every three (3) years by the NMDOT on McCurdy Road as recommended by the NASEM.