Tim Korte, the spokesperson for New Mexico Gas Company, told The Taos News Wednesday (Jan. 3) motorists should be aware that concrete barriers are back in place and traffic controls have been reinstated as of today on State Road 68 in the Rio Grande Gorge. This means a single lane of the two-lane highway is open to traffic, and a pilot car is helping move traffic 24 hours a day.
"Since construction moved past the [Rio Grande] Visitors Center, the work has been repetitive along the highway - trenching and excavating, trucking the soil to the quarry near Pilar, pipeline staging and welding, followed by installation and returning the soil to backfill the trench," Korte said.
"The horizontal bore under [the highway] was completed late last month at the south end of the project area [near Rinconada]. If the weather cooperates, crews should reach that location and complete the project late this month or early next month," Korte said.
The re-routing of the only natural gas pipeline coming into Taos County was approved by the Bureau of Land Management in April; work began on the six-mile, $14 million project in August.
NMGC is working on the finishing touches of plans to connect the newly installed pipeline to the rest of the county's natural gas infrastructure. This will happen at a "block valve" on County Road 110, located west of the UNM-Taos Klauer Campus but east of the Río Grande Gorge. A date for the tie-in, which will involve large trucks pumping liquefied natural gas into the system to avoid depressurization, has not been finalized, Korte said.
Find updates from the gas company on Twitter@nmgasco, nmgco.com or Facebook at facebook.com/nmgasco If you're driving through the Río Grande Gorge and have concerns about something you see, alert The Taos News by emailing email@example.com or calling (575) 758-2241.