Officials working to secure funds to close county road

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

County officials say they are working diligently to get enough money to re-situate a road causing problems for Cannon Air Force Base.

Manager Lance Pyle said his office is pursuing grant money to cover the expense of closing Curry Road R and paving a neighboring road to serve as a substitute route.

“We’re looking at trying to secure funding to address this force protection and safety issue that Cannon Air Force Base has brought to the county’s attention,” he said.

Cannon leadership has said the road, which runs along the base’s western perimeter, is a security risk and puts traffic inside an area of safety concern with the new aircraft now flying in and out of the base.

Closure of the road would also eliminate the need for a railroad crossing and the associated train whistles that base command has said causes a quality-of-life concern for Cannon residents.

The commission voted in June to close the road and divert traffic west to Curry Road T.

Commissioner Caleb Chandler said the cost of the closure and diversion of traffic has yet to be determined.

However Chandler said he and another commissioner visited with the governor recently to request $2 million for the project.

“That sounded very positive, but we don’t have anything final on that,” he said. “We’ll take whatever we can get.”

And Chandler said Sen. Jeff Bingaman has also included $1 million to help with the project in his budget requests.

There has been no final decision on the closure, Chandler said, or the alternate path that would be designated. The commission’s vote was intended to merely give administration the ability to pursue funding options.

Pyle said if the decision is made to close the road, there will be required procedures prior to it being final.

Neither Pyle or Chandler could provide a timeline for when or if the closure would take place.