Custer County Road and Bridge lost its road manager in May. The position has since been divided between Roger Squire and Rusty Christensen. They replaced Dave Trujillo who retired from the post.
Christensen has been delegated the administrative responsibilities, which helps him manage his time between Road and Bridge and the Custer County Landfill.
Squire is in charge of running the crew.
“I’ve been working here for 41 years this November,” Squire told the Tribune. “I first started working for Road and Bridge because I needed a fulltime job. When I started, it paid $2.50 an hour.”
Squire stated that he has always enjoyed working with heavy equipment and people. He eventually worked his way up to Assistant Road Boss for previous manager Dave Trujillo.
“The work we are focused on completing before winter,” Squire said, “is fixing the main arteries from rain damage.”
The three main roads are Rosita, County Road 255, and Copper Gulch.
“Part of the problem we see with those roads,” Squire said, “is people drive too fast on them. The posted speeds are what are best for those roads.”
Christensen worked at Road and Bridge for ten years before he went on to manage the landfill. He has been at the landfill for 16 years.
When asked how he liked splitting up the responsibilities between Road and Bridge and the landfill, he said that it is going well.
“It helps that we have great employees on both ends,” Christensen said. “It makes running things much easier.”
Christensen stated when he started working for Road and Bridge as manager, it had been a “real eye-opener.”
“I realized that we have three months to get everything done on our roads,” he said. “We have to work around the weather and get it all done before winter starts.”
Christensen explained if someone were to spread the county’s ten employees between Westcliffe and Albuquerque, New Mexico, those employees would have 360 miles of road to maintain.
“That is what we are up against,” Christensen said. “Our roads are mostly gravel or dirt, though.”
The equipment the crew at Road and Bridge uses is an average of 25 years old.
“We would like to have a seven-year replacement program,” Squire said, “but prices are too high.”
Squire and Christensen both stated they work well together, and are confident they will serve Custer County well.
– J.E. Ward