RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Rio Rancho has finally secured all of the funding for another long construction project on one of the city’s busiest roads.
Mayor Gregg Hull said the stretch of Southern between Unser and Rainbow has been neglected for 20 years, but that drivers can expect to see orange barrels there for roadwork in the coming weeks.
The planned upgrades couldn’t come soon enough for Rio Rancho drivers, who said the cracks and potholes inches deep along the road are causing chaos on the road.
“Driving back down Southern, I’ve almost been hit two times from cars coming up, driving into the other lane trying to avoid them,” Yvette Urioste-Medrano of Rio Rancho said.
She and others said the short-term patchwork isn’t enough.
“All they do is throw the asphalt into the potholes and by the next storm, it’s already out,” she explained.
On Friday, Mayor Hull said long-term relief is on the way in the form of a $2.1 million makeover expected to last four months starting Feb. 10.
“We’re finally awarding a contract to repave in its existing configuration,” he stated. “From 15th all the way to Rainbow, this will be completely ripped up from the dirt up to the asphalt, new base course put down, new asphalt put down.”
Additionally, crews will crack seal and patch up the lanes from 15th to Unser and add a new right turn at Baltic and Southern to help with visibility for drivers turning out of the neighborhood.
Neighbors say this much-needed work is well worth the anticipated traffic headache from the upcoming detours.
“I’ll be very glad to find alternate routes while they do the work,” Mark Smith of Rio Rancho said.
The city doesn’t yet know where the detour route will be. The public can weigh in at a meeting that will review the scope of the project on Feb. 6 at Puesta del Sol.
The mayor says it could still take at least four years for the city to redo the stretch of Southern between Golf Course and Unser. That is a $25 million to $35 million project and they still need to lock down the funding for it.