NMDOT readies safety measures for Good Friday pilgrimage

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico Department of Transportation is taking steps to make sure New Mexicans are safe during the annual Good Friday walk.

Crews are already sweeping the shoulders of busy highways and putting up signs. 

NMDOT says a lot of people walk in groups, and they want to make sure there is a safe trail for them to walk.

“What will be happening Friday is the annual pilgrimage to Tomé Hill that started in the ‘50s after my uncle returned from World War II. He made a promise to honor God and to honor those who didn’t make it back,” said Andrea Padilla, president of the town of Tomé land grant.

New Mexicans who celebrate holy week will begin their trek to Tomé Hill and Santuario de Chimayó on Good Friday. 

Some are getting an early start on their walk from Albuquerque. 

“You will find petroglyphs all along on the top of the hill and some of the rocks up there. It’s a very spiritual important place to a lot of people. It is something that I think we all, who have lived here all our lives find it to be something very very important. It is some that that is sacred, and we need to preserve,” said Padilla.  

NMDOT is doing its part to preserve the sacred tradition, adding signs on busy roadways to alert drivers, and barriers on stretches of the interstate. 

“Unfortunately there are areas of concern such as I-25, U.S. 285 where there is high speeds walking through that areas, but they have designated signs and wall barriers along the path, so walkers can be safe and walk on the side of the highway in those high speed areas,” said Kimberly Gallegos, NMDOT public information officer.

State police will also be directing traffic closer to the Santuario and Tomé Hill. They ask drivers to slow down and add extra time to your commute. 

“It’s gone down in history it will continue to for years, and we always want to make sure that safety is our number one concern, pedestrian safety, driver safety, roadway safety,” said Gallegos. 

Those who are walking on Friday should make sure to wear good shoes, bright colors and carry a flashlight if they are walking at night. 

New Mexico state police will have restrooms along the route for people to use.