Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Acequia Trail Underpass - Queued Up

Last week's Santa Fe Reporter was the bike issue. Terrific read. Everything bikes and trails and bike shops. Lotta great stuff including a piece about the west section of the Railyard and its old derelict caboose, (a personal favorite of mine). Embedded in the article was mention of $3.8 million in Federal transportation funding that very recently became available for construction of the often discussed Acequia Trail Underpass connecting the Railyard to the Baca Street District.

This was the first I'd seen or heard of this new money. After a quick search I found a Julie Ann Grimm piece, also in the Reporter, confirming the new funding. It means that ground breaking on the new underpass/trail connector is a go, possibly in the spring or summer of next year. Planning and designs for the project have long been in place and the public comment process was completed this spring (underpass preferred to overpass). The remaining hold-up was funding, or rather, a priority mis-match in spending this great sum for the benefit of a critical yet relatively low-demand section of the trail network. The city will need to come up with $500,000 to cover remaining project costs, and this funding happens to be immediately available due to a June City Council decision to defer construction on the Alameda Underpass (Santa Fe River Trail) and instead re-allocate the $1.9 million in bond funds for that project across several smaller projects.

Coincidentally, one recipient project of the re-allocated funding will be the western-most terminus of the Acequia Trail, the connector that will feed into the Santa Fe River Trail from South Meadows Rd to ~San Felipe Rd and Agua Fria. This portion of the River Trail is an orphan section built-out last year with available federal funds targeted for The Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. This western end of the River Trail falls within the National Parks Service alignment of the historic Camino Real, and the federal dollars became available before the County could work on the surrounding parts of the trail network. An additional recipient project of the new funding will be the planned spur from the Camino Real section to the soccer fields at the Municipal Rec Complex along Caja del Rio Rd. The tunnel under NM 599 is already there, built along with the road. I've been through it but it's literally choked under several feet of tumble weeds. I imagine this new money will be used to clear out the weeds and chamisas along the trail itself, and add a few signs so you know where the hell you're at and where you're going.

Conceptual designs of the new underpass - from above and at path level.

Related Posts:

View Acequia Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

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