Santa Fe, NM – Today, the New Mexico Department of Transportation announced that the Department has prepared safe walking areas along various New Mexico highways for the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage to the El Santuario de Chimayo (El Santuario). The Department met with local emergency response personnel to prepare for this event and crews have been working over the past three weeks to prepare the various routes to El Santuario for pilgrims making the trek this year.
Through Good Friday crews will continue to work around the clock to provide the following services to make sure pilgrims get to and from their destination safely:
- Maintenance crews will begin setting up traffic control devices and pedestrian walking signs. · There will be a right lane closure on US 84/285 between Jct. NM 599 and the S. Tesuque Interchange.
- Walkers will be guided to the on/off ramps at each interchange between Santa Fe and Cuyamungue.
- At the Cuyamungue Interchange, orange barrels and signage will guide the walkers away from the mainline and onto the east frontage road.
- Temporary stop signs will be placed at interchange locations to allow walkers to pass.
- All cattle guards along the routes will be covered
Additional signage and electronic message boards will also be placed along parts of NM 76 and NM 503 to alert motorists of the high volume of pedestrians on the roadway. Portable light plants will be placed in the area of the Pojoaque Wellness Center, and the intersections of NM 503 and CR 84; NM 503 and CR 98; NM 103 and NM 76 and on NM 76 mile marker 8 (Apple Shed) to provide additional lighting for those walking at night. There will be trash receptacles along all traditional walking paths. NMDOT reminds walkers to deposit their trash properly.
It is also suggested pedestrians wear light-colored clothing or reflective gear during early morning and evening hours. Law enforcement and emergency responders will patrol all areas of the pilgrimage to enhance overall safety of the event.
To further enhance the safety for this event, the Department asked law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of a state law that does not allow encroachments, including concession or roadside stands, along state highway right of way.