COVID-19

Supply shortage caused by virus delays Taos road project

Work set to resume April 6

Posted

Updated March 24 at 2:30 p.m.

A major overhaul planned for the main thoroughfare in Taos has been placed on hold for two weeks because of a supply shortage caused by COVID-19, according to a press release from the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Department spokesperson Kimberly Gallegos said the decision to pause the project was made in conjunction with El Terrero Construction, the contractor hired to replace the pot-hole-filled stretch of State Road 68 from La Posta Road to just north of Camino De La Placita. In addition to improving the quality of the road, the project is designed to widen it at certain points to reduce congestion and add sidewalks that include ADA-compliant ramps.

Construction workers could be seen at the starting line of the 1.5-mile project on March 16 as they broke ground on the first of four phases of the project, which was scheduled for a September 2021 finish.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday (March 23) listed commercial projects like the one planned for Taos as a form of work deemed "essential" in spite of the pandemic, while many businesses have been ordered to suspend operations.

Marisa Maez, communications director for NMDOT, said a piece of equipment used when installing manhole covers was delayed after workers at the company supplying the material tested positive for COVID-19.  She said the Taos project is the first and only one so far under NMDOT's purview to be suspended in the midst of the public health emergency.

Gallegos noted that there is currently a "documented national unavailability of construction material" as a result of the spread of the dangerous virus.

Other construction projects throughout the United States have also been delayed as factories in China, where the COVID-19 virus originated, have either slowed or stopped production amid strict quarantine and containment efforts imposed by the Chinese government. The United States relies on Chinese manufacturing for much of its steel and stone, among other materials used in construction projects.

Work on the $23.9 million project is set to resume on April 6.

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