Ten years after a major flood swept through Ruidoso, the village is finally rebuilding a major bridge that was nearly wiped out, and it’s a big job with some big cargo.
Huge concrete beams have been arriving on trucks all day Thursday. They will soon make up the upper canyon bridge that was badly damaged in a matter of minutes.
“We’re looking at almost 10 years now,” said Deputy Village Manager Ron Sena.
“We’ve been waiting on this for some time, working at it since the flood of 2008,” said Mayor Lynn Crawford.
That flood was like no other the area had seen. Neighborhoods surrounded by water, people had to be rescued by helicopter from their homes, and many roads and bridges badly damaged, including the upper canyon bridge.
“It was still in place. It was being used, but if another flood ever came it may have destroyed the bridge at that time so it needed to be replaced,” Sena said.
After years of anticipation, the village finally received some funding from the state and FEMA. Since the start of the year, they’ve been hard at work.
“Things are going good. We had a little bit of a rough start about a month ago, we had some rain that really set us down but Roper Construction jumped back on the bandwagon and we’re back on track,” said Public Works Director James Baumann.
Thursday, the heavy work began. Crews began transporting the big concrete beams piece by piece from the airport. The workers were moving at a pace of about 30 minutes a piece.
“By the end of the day, the plan is that they’re going to have all of the big pieces of the bridge moved in, about 12 of them,” Crawford said.
“The next step will be to come along and redo all of the remaining walls alongside the river,” Baumann explained.
The village hopes to have the project completed by Memorial Day, to accommodate the influx of visitors in the area over the summer.
The village budgeted $1.3 million for the project and they say they have used $900,000 of that so far.