ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Construction crews are working to preserve a descanso located inthe median of Interstate 25 near Sunport during reconstruction andwidening of the freeway.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is expanding lanesin the area. Right in the middle of it sits a descanso, a roadsidememorial which marks the spot where someone died in a trafficcrash.
DOT spokesperson Phil Gallegos said they are not required topreserve the markers but do it as a courtesy
"We find them on the front end of the project and know what weare going to do with them," Gallegos said. "I've seen it on projectnotes specifically telling a contractor you will protectthese."
In this case construction crews have placed four concretebarriers around the memorial to prevent the equipment fromaccidentally damaging it. Crews are maneuvering around it as theymove dirt and lay asphalt.
Gallegos says in this case it's been easy to work around it, butsometimes they can't and have to remove the memorials, complete theproject and then put the memorial back where it was.
Crews have to maneuver around these memorials often becausethey are so common in New Mexico, he added.
There is no law that requires crews to protect those descansosbut there is a law that prohibits the destruction of desecration ofdescansos in New Mexico.
Descansos draw their name from the Spanish verb translated as"to rest." In an earlier time when pallbearers carried a coffinbearing the deceased to a cemetery, a cross would be left to markthe place wherever they put the coffin down when they paused torest.
The cross became known a descanso.
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