ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This past spring, the Albuquerque District’s Operations Division used an interagency agreement, for the first time, to collaborate with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to repair and improve the access road and culverts on the Jemez Dam maintenance access road. The result was a cost savings with more flexibility over the use of a contract to manage the repairs.
The culvert under the access road had highly eroded over the years; the road needed some minor repairs to improve drainage; and the existing guardrail posts on the road and along the crest of the dam didn’t meet current New Mexico Department of Transportation standards.
The grade along the access road varies from three percent to as high as 10 percent. The guardrail was too low in many locations and the guardrail posts were spaced too far apart with no offset blocks. The old rail and posts were removed, new posts and offset blocks were installed, and the guardrail was reused as a sustainability and cost-saving measure.
Because the rocky nature of the area was not conducive to auger operations, it was necessary to hand dig each posthole along the majority of the access road. Vibratory equipment was not considered for personnel safety reasons, given the potential for rock fall, and to avoid impacts to any potential cultural resources.
The District used an interagency agreement in lieu of a contract to manage the repairs, which allowed the BLM engineers and construction crew flexibility in formulating a solution to the culvert erosion problem based on their equipment and technical expertise.
This is not the first time the District has collaborated with another government agency on a project to make repairs and save resources. The District has worked with the Bureau of Reclamation on culvert maintenance on the Galisteo Dam access road and on the Two Rivers Diamond “A” Dam Channel erosion project near Roswell, N.M. Collaboration with other agencies like the BLM and Reclamation is part of the District’s efforts to be good stewards of its limited resources.
The cost ended up less than $150,000. This was the first time an interagency agreement was used with the BLM to complete work of this magnitude for the District’s Operations Division.