Rain washes out road to NM village for the third time

Created: 08/11/2014 9:30 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

SANTO DOMINGO PUEBLO, NM --Again and again a little village north of Santo Domingo gets isolated when monsoon storms pass through. Sunday night, the only road in and out of Sile was slammed with flood waters wiping out access for the third time in a month. Each time crews take a step forward to fortify the road above this arroyo a huge storm comes and destroys the work. But this isn't the only place floods hit and people who live here have had it.

If you want to understand how scary it can be to lose the only road in and out of where you live listen to Fred Rivera.

"Last year my wife broke her leg during a rain storm and they couldn't get to her for four and a half hours," said Rivera.

Rivera says he had to use his own back-hoe to clear a road for the ambulance.

It happened again Sunday night. The low part of the road to tiny Sile becomes a rushing river in the rain. But down the road toward Santo Domingo is the biggest problem.

A system of culverts meant to guide water under the road was destroyed by last night's storm. It's the third time that's happened.

The Santo Domingo Pueblo says contractors were just about to fortify those culverts with concrete. They were halfway done when they were interrupted by the rains.

However, people like Rivera say the whole project needs to be scrapped.

"I think that they should have a bridge there," Rivera said.

The Pueblo's travel authority tells KOB it is not a design flaw and they'll continue with the same contractor.

The pueblo says the issue starts up the mountain in the Las Conchas burn scar.

Officials say there's nothing there to slow down the water, so it comes rushing into this valley. But Rivera says these problems aren't new.

"I've lived here for 63 years and in those 63 years this arroyo has washed out maybe 50 times," said Rivera.

Parts of this road lie on the pueblo and others in Sandoval County. The county's flood control authority covers Rio Rancho and Bernalillo. The director says there are aggressive flooding issues across the county.

KOB talked to the director of Sandoval flood control. He said the agency is spread thin addressing what he calls a permanent flooding problem throughout the county. He did say he will see if anything can be done for folks out here.  

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