New Mexico

Some residents wary about changes planned for T or C's main road

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, NM. (KRQE) - The Department of Transportation is planning to revamp the main road that runs through Truth or Consequences, and many residents say they aren't too thrilled about the potential changes. 

Business owner Randall Ashbaugh says this stretch of the I-25 business loop in the heart of Truth or Consequences has been a problem for years. 

"There's been over 100 accidents in this area from the Elephant Butte turnoff to Ninth Street in the last six years," Ashbaugh said. 

The road leads to popular tourist spot Elephant Butte. There are also three schools nearby.

So, Ashbaugh took his concerns to the city and requested a stoplight be installed; but that doesn't look like that's what they'll get. 

"Everybody just asked for a stoplight. I don't know where the roundabouts came about, but they popped up," Ashbaugh said. 

The DOT wants to put three roundabouts along the half-mile stretch. 

They say a two-year study showed most drivers where going 13 to 18 mph over the speed limit. This would slow them down. 

"I think that's way overkill. We just need a stoplight," Ashbaugh said. 

Most people are not happy, and State Rep. Rebecca Dow has heard from them. 

"Here in T or C I get a lot of calls about a couple of things. One of them being protecting second amendment rights; the second one being opposition to three roundabouts in a little over a half a mile," she said. 

Dow says the DOT may go ahead with that roundabout plan despite the opposition. It's all because of funding. The roundabouts may be the only plan the government will approve money for. 

"It's the only viable option in the Department of Transportation, state and federal mind, is three roundabouts," Dow said. 

The other option?

"For the city out of their own funds that they don't have to put in an intersection," Dow said. 

Some residents think people should just be thankful the state is willing to do something. 

"I know roundabouts work. They keep traffic flowing. There are a number of them in Albuquerque and in Arizona as well, so I think they are a good thing," said a T or C resident. 

The total cost for all three roundabouts is about $5 million. That would be paid for by federal grants. 

If the roundabouts are approved, construction would start in 2020. 

The cost of one intersection is also about $5 million, but that's money the city would have to come up with. 


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