The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Las Huertas Creek crossing waits for repair

Las Huertas Creek crossing waits for repair since the summer monsoon floods washed out its culverts.

Las Huertas crossing still washed out

Plans are in place to get started with construction on Camino de Las Huertas at the Las Huertas Creek crossing the second week in February, according to Chris Miller, Sandoval County assistant director of public work. It has been seven months since the Fourth of July storm that washed out the bridge. Now residents wonder what is going to be done to fix the crossing and whether it will be done before the spring runoff.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t believe it’s been open so long,” said Mike Davis, who lives north of the crossing. The flooding has adversely affected both residents and people working north of Las Huertas Creek.

County workers replaced the culverts and covered them with dirt, resulting in a makeshift road that was not much different from the original. The crossing washed out twice more in July, then again in August. Downstream, private property was damaged and pipelines were exposed in flooding that residents say was exacerbated by the catastrophic failure of the road crossing. Finally, in desperation, Sandoval County put up detour signs and bladed a single-lane road through the creek. The creek-bottom crossing was supposed to be a temporary fix, according to road workers at the site.

Many places in New Mexico flooded during the storms, and workers were exhausted trying to clean it all up.There were simply not enough resources to go around. Hatch, Laguna, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque-Downtown, the South Valley, Corrales, and pretty much the rest of New Mexico were suffering, and Sandoval County was overwhelmed.

When asked why it has taken so long, Miller responded, “We are waiting for design approval from the state. If it hadn’t been for that, we would have been working on it a month and a half ago. It poses difficult engineering problems to repair the washout. For now, it can be expected to be fixed in February.”

It is unclear whether the February repair will be as described in the county resolution on legislative priorities:

Funding is requested to design and rebuild Camino de las Huertas where it crosses Las Huertas Creek, in the Placitas area. Camino de Las Huertas is a major collector road and school-bus route that serves as the only direct road for a large number of residents in the rapidly growing area. The road crossing at Las Huertas Creek currently experiences washouts that make the road impassable during heavy rainfall in the Sandia Mountain watershed. High water flow in the creek during summer 2006 caused the road at the Las Huertas Creek to wash out on four separate occasions, resulting in the road's complete closure, until county crews could make repairs.

County spokesman and lobbyist Gayland Bryant said that the crossing would be reinforced with concrete head walls, aprons, and wing walls, and would include riprap structures upstream.
Director of public works Phil Rios said that even if funding is secured at this year’s legislative session, funds won’t be available until summer or fall. He said that repair of the crossing has been delayed by the application to FEMA for assistance and the subsequent involvement of the state in the approval of the plan. Rios was confident that culverts would be in place and the road completed before the spring runoff. He said that once the work starts, it will only take about a week to make the crossing as good or better than it was before.

The concrete work will be added once funds are available. Without the concrete reinforcement, the crossing is more vulnerable to monsoon flooding, and washouts could happen again this summer.

El Rinconcito español

• La memoria es como mal amigo; cuando más falta te hace, te falta.
Memory is like a bad friend; when you need it most, it fails you.

• En casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo.
In the blacksmith's house, a wooden knife.

• El apetito entra por los ojos.

Appetite enters through the eyes.

Submitted by, Placitas—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

Historic Casa San Ysidro offers docent training

Travel back in time at Casa San Ysidro. It’s a home where the only heat came from a fireplace, the only air-conditioning came through an open window, and oil lamps, candles, and starlight illuminated the evening hours of nineteenth century New Mexico.
This partially reconstructed eighteenth-to-nineteenth-century home in the village of Corrales is an important link to the history of New Mexico. Inside the adobe walls you’ll find Spanish Colonial furniture, authentic handwoven floor coverings, hand-forged iron tools, and an authentic loom made in the late 1700s.
The Albuquerque Museum acquired Casa San Ysidro from long-time Corrales residents Alan and Shirley Minge. The couple started their collection over fifty years ago, accumulating scarce New Mexican artifacts that would have otherwise been lost to time. The property originally belonged to the descendants of Don Felipe Gutiérrez, recipient of the Bernalillo Township Land Grant, in 1704. The Albuquerque Museum opened Casa San Ysidro to the public in October of 1998. The historic house is named for the patron saint of farming, San Ysidro Labrador.

In keeping with the public education policy of the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Museum, Casa San Ysidro offers tours to the general public and also to the public schools of Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties. Volunteers trained in New Mexico history and in Casa San Ysidro enlighten visitors on how life would have been experienced by the early Hispanic pioneers in what is now New Mexico. It was an arduous, exciting, and often dangerous existence.

We at Casa invite you to come and share our love of this wonderful home and its historic past. Our new docent-training schedule starts on March 6. Robert Torrez, a former state historian, will present the first four lectures. The following eight lectures will be presented by the curator/site manager of Casa. All training classes are held on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00 noon and are free of charge to trainees.

For more information and to inquire about registering for the classes, please call Ouida Anderson, tour coordinator, at 898-3915.

Historical society to host “A Bridge
Between Cultures”

The Sandoval County Historical Society will meet on Sunday, February 4, at 2:00 p.m. at Delavy House Museum. Mary Ellen Gonzales, from the New Mexico Humanities Council, will speak on “A Bridge Between Cultures.”

The program is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Delavy House Museum is off Highway 550, west of Bernalillo, between Coronado State Monument and Santa Ana Star Casino. For further information, contact Martha Liebert, at 867-2755.

Rail Runner Schecule
Rail Runner train starts service to Belen

New Mexico Rail Runner Express service will extend south to Belen on February 2. The opening of this leg of service completes the entire fifty-mile Phase One commuter line.
“The Rail Runner is on track and already becoming an integral part of the daily commute for many New Mexicans,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “Clean, fast mass-transportation options are a key part of moving New Mexico forward.”
Commuters on the Belen-to-Albuquerque line will ride free until April 1.

“With the addition of service to Belen, the Rail Runner brings even more New Mexicans an extremely convenient form of transportation,” said new Mexico Transportation secretary Rhonda Faught. “The New Mexico Department of Transportation is very proud to be the providers of a transportation system that serves so many who live and work in the heart of the Rio Grande valley,” adds Faught.

The extension of Rail Runner service to Belen means that there will soon be a third train in the rotation of those serving the Albuquerque-to-Belen corridor. Included in the additional service will be a train that departs a little later in the morning coming into Albuquerque, and one that leaves Albuquerque going south a bit earlier in the afternoon. (See the full accompanying train schedule).

“This extension represents much more than simply adding Belen to regular Rail Runner service,” says Lawrence Rael, executive director of the Mid-Region Council of Governments. “With the addition of this southernmost rail connection, commuters will also see a revised Rail Runner schedule which includes a lot more service south of Albuquerque. This will especially help serve those we call “reverse commuters”—people traveling from Albuquerque to Los Lunas and Belen in the morning and returning in the afternoon.”

The Belen Rail Runner station is at Reinken Avenue and Wisconsin Street, on the east side of the railroad tracks. It is across the tracks from the historical Harvey House Museum, an area that brings passenger-rail service full circle to where it all started back in 1901. Parking at the station is free, and provides space for more than two hundred vehicles.

“The Belen area boasts a long history with train travel,” says Belen mayor Ronnie Torres. “The people of Belen have really gotten behind the Rail Runner. This is going to bring a great transportation alternative to our city, as well as provide us with a long-awaited economic boost,” adds Mayor Torres.

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express began serving commuters between Albuquerque and Bernalillo July 14 last year. Four stations—Bernalillo, the Los Ranchos/Journal Center, the Downtown Albuquerque Station, and Los Lunas—have been opened since then.

All station information, timetables, fares, and other information concerning the New Mexico Rail Runner can be viewed at For further information, call 245-RAIL.






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