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New Mexico Transportation Secretary Alvin Dominguez announced Tuesday that the Department’s maintenance crews are preparing for safe walking areas along various New Mexico highways for the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage to the Santurario de Chimayó.
To further enhance the safety for this event, the department has asked law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of a state law that does not allow encroachments, including concession or roadside stands, along state highway right-of-way.
This is a multi-agency coordinated event using the National Incident Management system, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation is working closely with local entities to provide a safe walking area for this year’s event.
There will be no parking on C.R. 98 from Ranchos de Chimayó to N.M. 503 and walkers are encouraged to walk on the west side of C.R. 98.
The department is requesting both walkers and motorists to exercise extreme caution so that everyone is able to safely participate in the annual pilgrimage.
It is also suggested pedestrians wear light-colored clothing or reflective gear during early morning and evening hours.
Local law enforcement will have a limited number of glow sticks for participants.
Maintenance crews have begun sweeping operations along typical routes to the Santurario.
Starting Thursday, April 5 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. N.M. 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 Cuymungue 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.
Additional signage and electronic message boards will be placed along parts of U.S. 84/285, N.M. 68, N.M. 76 and N.M. 503 to alert motorists of the high volume of pedestrians on the roadway.
Portable light towers will be placed in the area of the Pojoaque Wellness Center, and the intersections of N.M. 503 and C.R. 84 and N.M. 503 and C.R. 98 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 depose their trash properly. Maintenance crews will pick up and replace trash bags for the duration of the event.
In addition, the North Central Regional Transit District will be adding additional buses along its Espanola to Chimayó route to accommodate people making the annual pilgrimage to El Santuario de Chimayó on Good Friday, April 6.
Two ADA accessible buses will run continuously throughout the day from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the first departing the Big Rock Casino in Espanola at 8 a.m. and the second departing Big Rock Casino at 8:30 a.m.
The route concludes at the Benny Chavez Center in Chimayó. Scheduled stops along the route include the Las Lomas Apartments, La Tiendita del Paes and the Santa Cruz Country Store before concluding at the Benny Chavez Center.
Delays will be unavoidable due to the heavy pedestrian traffic along the route. Regular passengers of that route need to be aware that buses will not be at the designated scheduled stops at their normally posted time.
For route and schedule information, log onto ridethebluebus.com or call toll free 1-866-206-0754.