BERNALILLO, NEW MEXICO
The New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance announced the listing of the Cambray Overpass to its 2009 “Most Endangered Places in New Mexico” designation. The alliance advocates protecting New Mexico’s heritage, especially places it considers imminently threatened.
More than 60 places have been recognized as endangered since the program started in 1999. The bridge joined the Coronado State Monument in Bernalillo, the Luna-Otero Mansion and fence in Los Lunas and the De la O Saloon and Village of Doña Ana in Doña Ana.
Built in 1929-30, as part of a project to improve U.S. Highway 80 (the Old Spanish Trail and Broadway of America highways) across New Mexico, the overpass carried automobiles over the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) railroad for decades, until bypassed by Interstate 10.
Despite its current light use, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) considers the bridge outdated and plans to replace it. Adding to the pressure, the Union Pacific seeks additional clearance for its trains, threatening the bridge’s future.
Radian Engineering of Santa Fe, New Mexico is conducting a study of the overpass for NMDOT. The study will result in a report proposing alternatives for the structure, including a potentially “no-build” option, though replacement is expected. At the same time, Radian, Parametrix, an Albuquerque-based consulting is preparing a historical study on the overpass and the village of Cambray. The study will be available to the public.
With the recent demolition of Bridge 8, an early Route 66 bridge north of Bernalillo, New Mexico, the Cambray Overpass moves to the position as one of the oldest “on-system” highway bridges in New Mexico.