NMDOT prepares routes for Good Friday pilgrimage to Chimayo

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By The Staff

SANTA FE – New Mexico Transportation Secretary Gary Girón announced today that the Department’s maintenance and construction crews are preparing for safe walking areas along various New Mexico highways for the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage to the Santurario de Chimayo.

“The Pilgrimage is a time-honored, New Mexican tradition and our maintenance crews are putting forth every effort to once again provide a safe walking area for this annual event,” said Secretary Gary Girón. “The Department is requesting the pilgrims to follow the signs for their own safety and the safety of the motorists traveling nearby.”

According to various historical accounts, about 200 years ago a man named Bernado Albeyta was leading a Holy week celebration when he saw a mysterious light coming from the ground. He began to dig at the source of the light and soon uncovered a crucifix. The crucifix was taken to the church of Santa Cruz, but miraculously continued to return, on its own, to its original location. The santuario was constructed around the cross so that it could remain where it was originally discovered.

Accordingly, many of the faithful believe the dirt at Santurario de Chimayo holds healing properties, and there are numerous accounts of wounds and ailments being cured when the dirt is applied. Maintenance crews have begun sweeping operations along typical routes to the Santurario. Starting Thursday, April 1 through Good Friday, crews will continue to provide the various accommodations as they have in previous pilgrimages: ·         There will be a right lane closure on US 84/285 between Jct. NM 599 and the S. Tesuque Interchange. ·         Walkers will be guided to the on/off ramps at each interchange between Santa Fe and Cuyamungue. ·         At the Cuyamungue Interchange, orange barrels and signage will guide the walkers away from the mainline and onto the east frontage road. ·         Temporary stop signs will be placed at interchange locations to allow walkers to pass. ·         Road construction on US 84/285 between Arroyo Seco and Espanola will be shut down on Good Friday however those planning to walk in these areas should stay away from the construction work zones for your own safety.   Additional signage and electronic message boards will be placed along parts of NM 76 and NM 503 to alert motorists of the high volume of pedestrians on the roadway. A portable light plant will also be placed in the area of the Pojoaque Wellness Center to provide additional lighting for those walking at night. Law enforcement and emergency responders will patrol all areas of the pilgrimage to enhance overall safety of the event. There will be trash receptacles along all traditional walking paths. NMDOT strongly reminds walkers to deposit their trash properly. Maintenance crews will pick up and replace trash bags for the duration of the event.