ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - New Mexico's bridges, roads, dams and levees are falling apart, and the fix is way out of the state's price range, a new study shows.
Plus there potentially is a lot more than money at stake because the problems could lead to disaster.
Orange barrels are a very familiar sight in the state, but the new study done by an engineers' group shows there should be more of them around the state--a lot more.
From last year's bridge collapse west of Albuquerque near the Route 66 Casino to flash floods bringing the Rail Runner Express trains to a halt north of Bernalillo, New Mexico's infrastructure and flood control systems need work.
"There's things that need to be done," said Gerald Parker, a spokesman for the New Mexico chapter of the American Society of Engineers. "We all know that we have roads that aren't quite what we'd like them to be. We have a lot of congestion.
"We have storm-drainage issues that aren't quite what we'd like them to be, and we have some flooding issues occasionally."
Those issues earned New Mexico a "C" in a recent study grading infrastructure across the nation.
The grade comes from the American Society of Civil Engineers, which found the state needs billions of dollars in work.
When engineers looked at the state's flood-control systems they found 77 percent of them are deficient, and about 16 percent of the state's dams are a hazard. One of those is the 101-year-old Peterson Dam leaking in above Las Vegas.
Engineers also say it will take $178 million dollars alone to bring the state's bridges up to an "A," and roads are another trouble spot. They get a failing grade because a third of the state's fatal accidents are caused by roadway deficiencies.
To bring the state's low grade up a few notches, the group says it will take a lot of money.
It's something Gov. Susana Martinez said she has been fighting for, but with state and federal money being harder to come by these days, funding is a major roadblock.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation said it has $16 billion dollars in projects it would like to get done over the next 20 years. The NMDOT will only get a fraction of that.
The snow has fallen, the slopes are open and the skis and snowboards are a sliding! It's time to get your old gear ready to go or try out your new stuff. Jerry Shere and Lyndsi Johnson from Sport Systems is here with me.
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