Two weeks later, Palominas residents still stranded
PALOMINAS, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Still stranded, two weeks after monsoon washed out the only way in and out of their Palominas neighborhood, things are about to get worse.
Right now, residents living along S. Paloma Trail have the OK to cut through private ranch land but that will soon change. The ranch owner is closing his gates, saying the detour was intended to be a temporary fix -- ten days at most. The alternate route, which takes residents through Naco, adds an hour and a half to their commute.
"It's frustrating, it's unnerving," Palominas resident Jeffery Grewell said.
The dirt road, a public easement, is the only access road for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to the border fence in the area. Neighbors are calling the natural disaster an issue of national security.
"We've seen them pull bails of marijuana off our property more than once," resident Lissa Howe told 9OYS.
"I have a really difficult time sleeping at night," she continued.
In a statement released to Nine On Your Side, Border Patrol says they are "still actively patrolling in these areas despite the limited road access."
Cochise County officials say they can not legally touch the land. State law determines what they can spend tax payer money on.
"This is not one of them. We've looked at every angle of this road," Cochise County Engineer Karen Riggs said.
Riggs says the department is working on getting grants to repair the road. They are also offering unofficial engineering advice to area residents trying to repair the road.
Residents of the rural road say they did not build the concrete wash to begin with. Five years ago, crews working on the border fence poured the concrete to allow heavy equipment to get through. Before then, neighbors say they could maintain the road.