More than 15 years in the planning stage, work is expected to be completed this year on a 5-mile alternate car and truck route that will pull traffic away from downtown Aztec, New Mexico.
Because heavy truck traffic slicing through the downtown area has over the years damaged the foundation of many older and historic commercial structures, city officials have long pushed for the construction of an alternative route of travel that would avoid that area altogether.
City officials have also argued that the new route will enhance pedestrian safety on Main Street and other connecting streets downtown.
Two sections of the East Aztec Arterial Route have already been constructed. The last phase of the project will connect those sections.
That connection will cover roughly three miles on U.S. Route 550 going south from the Navajo Dam Road to Pepsi Way, which leads to the Pepsi Bottling Group facility.
Last year Aztec received some $3.1 million in capital outlay funding approved by the New Mexico State Legislature to complete the project.
By Garry Boulard
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