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Assuming property owners near the top of Sagebrush Drive can be assured a proposed paved trail there won’t bring in stormwater and eroded silt, that long-awaited project will get under way by the end of April. Village Engineer Steve Grollman and Corrales Public Works Director Mike Chavez met in an online conference with Sagebrush residents and members of the Village’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Commission February 26 to learn what concerns might still need to be addressed.

The trail, proposed more than two decades ago and now fully funded, would connect the west end of Sagebrush Drive to the existing north-south path along the escarpment in Rio Rancho. The commission has long advocated for it as a crucial link so that cyclists, horse riders and hikers can access a loop trail that offers spectacular views toward the bosque and Sandia Mountains.

The existing trail along the escarpment has been known as the Thompson Fence Line Trail since it follows the alignment of the historic Thompson Ranch fence —which also serves as the boundary between Corrales and Rio Rancho. The best-known section of the trail, visible to the south as motorists drive upper Meadowlark to and from Rio Rancho, is the paved path below Intel, also known as the Skyview Trail.

Most villagers probably are unaware that the developed path continues on northward from the north side of Meadowlark for more than two miles along the edge of the escarpment. That long trail has been recognized as a valuable asset, and is a crucial segment in the Corrales Trails Master Plan, especially for its potential to create a recreational loop route. But a substantial gap has existed between the cul de sac at the end of Sagebrush and the escarpment path, and much of it is steep, uneven terrain. Finally a collaboration among the Village, the Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, Sandoval County and the City of Rio Rancho has moved the proposal to the stage at which on-the-ground work will start next month.

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A breakthrough came several years ago when SSCAFCA transferred ownership of a parcel of land to the Village which it no longer needed for flood control projects. So the trail connection can now be accomplished on land owned by the Village of Corrales. At the virtual meeting convened by Village Administrator Ron Curry, he assured the project is ready to go. “I signed the purchase order today” for a contract with Albuquerque Asphalt, which will pave the path after several weeks of earth-moving work.

Total cost will be $89,000. “We’re good to go for the whole thing,” Curry assured. Grollman provided details and specifications about the project he designed, including an “inverted crown” in the center of the pavement so that rain falling on the surface would be channeled to a pond rather than spill off uncontrolled. The path would be eight feet wide, with two-foot shoulders on either side covered with recycled (crushed) asphalt.

The homeowner nearest the trail, Carol Levy, was not convinced that the proposed stormwater control features will be adequate to prevent drainage onto her land. “We hope the Village is not creating a problem for us,” she cautioned. “If there is a problem, it’s going to be our problem.” She and other neighbors expressed concerns about future trail users parking in and around the cul-de-sac in a manner that caused obstructions. Should such problems arise, they might be addressed by the Village erecting “No Parking” signs and other deterrents, commission member Chris Allen suggested.

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