New Proposals for 5-Mile Bridge, Farmington Lake Study

August 24, 2023

A proposal by San Juan County officials have offered a plan to alleviate the concerns of county residents impacted by the 5-Mile Bridge closure, improvements for the immediate timeframe and plans for the future. A feasibility study for raising the dam at Lake Farmington may now come to fruition with a proposed plan to cover costs, and Durango’s Merely Players is proud to present the premiere of “A Slow Crawl Towards Heaven”, catch the show before it leaves after this weekend. By Hannah Robertson. This story is sponsored by Ace Hardware in Farmington and Northern Edge Casino

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A proposal to address concerns for residents affected by the closure of 5-Mile Bridge offers direct assistance to current issues while still leaving open the option to rebuild the condemned bridge. A funding proposal for a feasibility study for raising the dam at Farmington Lake was presented at the August 8th Farmington City Council meeting. And "Merely Players of Durango" is proud to present "A Slow Crawl Towards Heaven". It's a vibrant dance theater production created and danced by Javon "Ja'Moon" Jones. You're watching "The Local News Roundup", brought to you by Ace Hardware in Farmington and Northern Edge Casino. I'm Connor Shreve. At the August 15th, San Juan County Commissioner's meeting, commissioners voted on an initial action plan to address needs and concerns as a result of the closure of 5-Mile Bridge earlier this year. The closure of the bridge on June 5th due to safety concerns of the 100 year old structure has caused a myriad of issues for residents who relied on the bridge. The alternative route, County Road 4990, also known as Sullivan Road has many residents concerned that the road is not equipped for the higher level of traffic. At a public input meeting on June 29th, residents asked commissioners to consider rebuilding the bridge, although with estimations between 13.3 and $16.9 million, commissioners were concerned that they would not be able to find funding. Although 5-Mile Bridge is considered by the residents as a critical infrastructure, it is not high use enough for commissioners to be certain of federal and state funding. The proposal by Nick Ponell, San Juan County's Public Works Director proposed a budget adjustment of $450,000 for design improvements to County Road 4990. That would address road needs while leaving open the option to replace the bridge at a later date if funding can be secured. At the August 8th Farmington City Council meeting, the council did agree on a proposal to cover the cost of a feasibility study to raise the height of the dam at Farmington Lake. The cost of the study is estimated to be $5 million. The proposal outlines how that cost would be split between a two and a half million dollars grant from the San Juan Water Commission and $5 million from the New Mexico Finance Authority, half of which would be forgivable. The feasibility study would examine if the height of the dam could be raised up by 25 feet which would increase the water storage capacity by 73%. The lake, which is the primary potable water source for the city currently can meet city water demands from 203 days. The increased capacity would meet water needs for 348 days. The cost of the project was estimated to be $65 million in 2017. Although with rising costs of material and inflation, the cost could now be in excess of $100 million. The completion of the feasibility study would determine next steps if the City of Farmington decides to go further with constructing the dam. Merely Players presents the premier of "A Slow Crawl Towards Heaven". An immersive experience of recollection, combining facts and storytelling to shed light on untold narratives of black spiritual lineages. The performance, a dance theater production created and danced by Javan "Ja'Moon" Jones tells stories of the African and Black diaspora through a mixed medium of dance, text, and sound. "Ja'Moon" created the show through residencies in Colorado, New Mexico, California, and New York and invites the audience to participate in the experience. The show did premiere August 18th but there is still time to catch it, August 25th and 26th at 7:00 PM and August 27th at 2:00 PM at Merely Players Underground in the Tech Center. Tickets are $25. You can learn more about these and other stories online at Thank you for watching this edition of "The Local News Roundup". I'm Connor Shreve.


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