After recent rain, Socorro County residents came before the county commissioners with flooding concerns at their final June meeting.

More than 10 residents from the Rancho de Barnardo neighborhood came before the commissioners with a request that the El Centro road be repaired. One of the residents, Steven Berardi, had come before the commissioners last year with a petition signed by neighbors also asking for the road to be repaired.

The dirt road washes out frequently and has severely eroded, and several residents said they are unable to drive their cars down the road when it gets muddy. One resident told the commissioners that he tows an I-beam down the road sometimes to smooth it out because the washboarding on the road is so bad for his back as he drives down it.

The culverts that used to be in place on the road washed out and have not been replaced for over a year, said Berardi.

Commissioner Manuel Anaya said he was told school buses do not drive down the road, but instead pick up students at the nearby RV Park, because they would not be able to turn around.

“We’ve got a school teacher that lives down there, we’ve got a nurse that lives down there, a couple people with the fire department that live down there, so not only can’t emergency vehicles come to us,  but some of the people who run those emergency vehicles can’t go to anyone if they can’t get out of their house, if they can’t get to their work,” said Berardi.

County Manager Michael Hawkes recommended that the commissioners target Transportation Project Fund (TPF) prioritization in the fall. The local Government Road Fund (LGRF) might be another funding option. Likely the county would not get enough funds from the state to do the road all at one time, said Hawkes.

The culverts should go back in sometime in the new fiscal year, said Hawkes, and there was a wait to put them back in due to being low on funds. The new fiscal year just began on July 1.

One reason the road has never been on the rotation to be chip sealed, is because sand would come down from the mountain and need to be cleared every time it rains, said Road Manager Art Gonzales. He said his crew includes eight people and they are doing their best to get to everyone in the county.

Repairing the road will take time because along with securing funding, the county would also need to hire an engineering firm to design an engineering fix for the project.

Commissioner Ray Martinez said he believes the commission can address the road’s issues over the next few years if they piece out funding requests.

In other business:

  • The commissioners also received a public comment from a Luis Lopez resident who is getting flooding on her mother’s farm after a neighboring landowner diverted arroyos into a ditch.
  • The commissioners heard from local historian Paul Harden about an opportunity to get brown signs labeling the historic El Camino Real in the county. Harden said there is funding available to place the signs, but he came before the commission because he does not know who to ask for permissions or how to place the signs. County Manager Michael Hawkes said the county can help physically place the signs and secure permissions.