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DOT: Fixing N.M. roads is a matter of policy

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By Harold Morgan

White poles frame the lanes of N.M. 279 at its intersection with N.M. 124 just north of Laguna and form a cluster.
For the first-time observer, the white hilltop cluster is odd: “What in the world is that?” Turn north on 279 and the purpose — if not the rationale — becomes evident. The poles channel traffic, such as it is, through the intersection.
Our years long, nine-figure difference between what ought to be done maintaining and building highways and the money available, as defined by the state Department of Transportation, must be a matter of policy. It has continued so long that it must be on purpose.
Just kidding. I hope.
Within the policy, some things stand out — the ghostly cluster, for example.
One doesn’t just build a road. My sample of the materials from a Transportation Commission meeting is a five-eighths-inch thick book.
Examples of work DOT likes appear in the department’s annual report. While the project descriptions are all happy news, some interesting hints slide in. The 2013 report’s description of rebuilding the I-10/I-25 interchange south of Las Cruces mentions reconstruction of two bridges “to meet current design standards.”


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