Overpass opening official

CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle City and state officials cut the ribbon Tuesday at the opening of the N.M. 467 overpass. The project took about nine months.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Residents living south of the N.M. 467 overpass are enjoying the new stretch of steel and concrete that allows them to cruise above trains that once hindered their travels.

Celebrating a long-awaited accomplishment, officials from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Curry County and K. Barnett & Sons gathered Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Casel-land Fun Center at the base of the overpass.

“It looks good. I’m proud of it,” Curry County Road Superintendent Danny Davis said. “It’s a good accomplishment.”

Davis said it took about four years or more to get the project off the ground and completed.

He said once construction began, it went smoothly and was timely.

“We worked with a lot of good people and K. Barnett did a really good job,” Davis said.

According to a news release from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, the $3.6-million project involved installation of the three-span bridge with sidewalks, curb, gutter and pavement markings and took about nine months.

Pam Wallace, who lives on N.M. 467 behind Cannon Air Force Base, said the overpass has cut a chunk out of her trip to get to town.
“It saves me more time getting into town,” she said. “You could get hemmed in (by trains before).”

Paul Lough, who also lives on 467, said he too is enjoying the overpass since its completion nearly two weeks ago, though he said there is now more traffic in the area.

“The traffic volumes are way more than they used to be,” he said, “though I was tired of the detour. I was ready.”

Victor Chavez, who lives on West Brady, said he is disappointed state officials chose to put an overpass at the intersection of N.M. 467 and U.S. 60/84 instead of placing it at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

“That’s where it was needed (Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) but they built it over there to please a handful of people, I guess.”

Curry County Commission Chairman Albin Smith also resides south of the overpass. He said he is glad to see the project completed.

“I’m super-excited about it,” he said.

Smith, who at one time said he used the train delays as an opportunity to pray, said he still finds plenty of time to work on his relationship with God in other areas of town.

“I still have other ample time (to pray),” he said laughing.