County waiting on funding to repair part of Trujillo Road

Photos courtesy Archuleta County
The San Juan River is causing County Road 500 to “slough off” into the river. Two photos (top) depict the damage in December 2019 and (bottom) the damage in June 2020.

By John Finefrock
Staff Writer

The San Juan River is causing part of County Road 500 (Trujillo Road) to “slough off,” according to Archuleta County Public Works Director Bob Perry.

The damage is a few miles from where County Road 500 intersects with Colo. 151.

In a presentation to the county commissioners on July 14, Perry explained that the damage was first noticed around April 2019, when the “erosion” area was still about 80 feet from the edge of the road.

He noted that after meeting with a few government agencies about the repairs, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the “finger in the wind estimate” was about $2 million to $3 million, which has proven to be accurate, and which the county is still working to secure funding for.

County Administrator Scott Wall told The SUN earlier this year that a retaining wall to support the hillside would cost about $1 million, noting that the Department of Local Affairs may have grants to help pay for parts of the project.

Perry estimated an additional $1 million to reroute the San Juan River so it no longer erodes the hillside.

“If there’s anything we can do to help expedite this, I think we should,” Commissioner Ron Maez said on July 14. “And maybe we could send a letter of how urgent or how important this road is before we lose it and then we spend another year deciding that — in confirming the fact that we already lost the road.”

“It’s just a matter of getting the funding mechanism moving forward,” Perry said. “I think they’re all set and ready to go, so I don’t know if this is gonna take a whole lot. Every time I get optimistic about what some of these agencies can do in a short time I find out that they can’t put their socks on without three permits.”

In a phone call Wednesday, Maez explained the county is waiting on various government agencies to approve funding for the repair.

He stated that anything dealing with rerouting a river, as this project does, tends to take an extended amount of time to get approval.

Wall confirmed Wednesday that even with the needed repairs, County Road 500, even around the damaged area, is still accessible and passable to vehicles.