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Santa Fe may take over several major roads from state

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The city of Santa Fe may soon take over maintenance of several major roadways that run through the city but are currently under the control of the state.

The change is included in a proposed roads transfer agreement that would shift responsibility of the roads to the city from the state Department of Transportation. The transferred roads include portions of Cerrillos Road, St. Michael’s Drive and Old Pecos Trail.

The Finance Committee approved the agreement Monday afternoon, with the full City Council scheduled to vote on the matter next Wednesday. The agreement would take effect Aug. 1, with the city undergoing a legal process to own the roads within the next two years.

In a memo on the agreement given to the councilors, Public Works Director Regina Wheeler said the extra roads would increase the city’s Priority 1 road maintenance requirements by 50% and would require additional equipment to maintain.

Engineering Division Director Javier Rosado told councilors that the city did not include such new equipment as a street sweeper and dump truck in the recently approved budget and that the Streets Division would attempt to find funding for those items elsewhere.

In the past, state-controlled roads in Santa Fe have led to confusion for residents, especially when it comes to who’s in charge of plowing certain roads during snowstorms.

Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth said the project would greatly ease the city’s conversion of streetlights to LED lights, a topic of great public interest in Santa Fe.

“It will allow us to do a lighting design plan that meets our community’s needs, instead of being bound by the state requirements,” the councilor said.