Santa Fe And Rio Arriba Counties Build Bridges

Roybal, Martinez resized
Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal (District 1) and Rio Arriba County Commissioner James Martinez (District 1) both hope the collaboration that between their two counties is applied to other mutually beneficial projects. Photo by Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post

Santa Fe And Rio Arriba Counties Build Bridges

New Mexico counties set an example for working together.

By Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post

SANTA FE, NM – Commissioners from two Northern New Mexico counties came together last week to celebrate two new bridges spanning the Santa Cruz river, reconnecting Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties for local residents.

The collaboration began three years ago, when representatives from the two counties met on County Roads 94 and 97 to view the state of disrepair of the existing bridges. The bridge on CR 97 had completely collapsed. Attempts to construct a dirt bridge over culverts were repeatedly washed away by flooding.

Residents along CR 94 were patching that bridge to keep it from collapsing.

“When I first came to the site of these bridges, one of them was lying in the water and people were driving through the river.” said Santa Fe County District 1 Commissioner Henry Roybal. “We had constituents call and say, ‘If my house is on fire, the fire department can’t get here to put it out. If we have an emergency, an ambulance can’t get across. UPS doesn’t deliver our mail because they don’t want to cross the bridge.

“The bridge still standing was shored up with plywood. The residents just did what they could to keep the bridge from collapsing completely like it did on 94.”

The two counties worked together to on a plan to replace the bridges. Santa Fe County provided $50,000 toward the $210,400 cost of replacing the bridges. Rio Arriba County provided the rest.

“There was a lot of red tape that we had to go through to get to this point, but we got here,” Roybal said. “I know it was a long time coming and it was a long road we had to travel. I’m glad we finally got to the end and got these accomplished for the community.”

Local residents joined Rio Arriba County commissioners and staff for the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, July 25.

“I for one am excited to be a part of this, where we can come together in Rio Arriba County and Santa Fe County to accomplish something like this for the people, for the residents of our community,” said Rio Arriba County District 1 Commissioner James Martinez. “I look forward to working together, alongside Santa Fe County, on projects that we would like to do in the future, working together on behalf of the people.”

“This showed that when we work together it’s the best way to serve our constituents, and that’s what I want to see in the future,” Roybal said. “There are a lot of different projects that we can work on together to make sure we can serve our constituents in the best way we can. There are so many opportunities that we can venture into together.”

Santa Fe County Commissioner Henry Roybal (District 1) looks on as Rio Arriba County Commissioner James Martinez (District 1), cuts the ribbon to a new bridge on County Road 97. Photo by Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post
CR 97 with a dirt bridge covering culverts in the river. Courtesy Rio Arriba County
CR 97 with the dirt bridge washed away by flooding. Courtesy Rio Arriba County
CR 94 bridge before the replacement. Courtesy Rio Arriba County
​From left: Orlando Romero, Santa Fe County, District 1 constituent services liaison, Henry Roybal, Santa Fe County Commissioner, District 1, James Martinez, Rio Arriba County Commissioner, District 1, Napoleon Garcia, Rio Arriba County Public Works administrator, Leo Marquez, Rio Arriba County deputy manager, Adan Trujillo, Rio Arriba County attorney and Liz Gold, a local resident grateful for the new bridge. Photo by Arin McKenna/Valley Daily Post