Southern Boulevard potholes have drivers upset

New Mexico News

Drivers along a busy stretch of road in Rio Rancho say it’s dangerous, destructive, and has now become costly. Unfortunately, a permanent fix is a long way down the road.

“There’s potholes here and there. You see little chunks of the asphalt, you know, flick off,” said Rosalinda Ponce.

Ponce regularly drives on Southern Blvd., from Unser to Rainbow, because her daughter lives in the area.

Lately, her driving experience has been a little rocky.

“I hit this giant hole, and my whole car just, you know?” she said.

That wasn’t the only pothole that has Ponce concerned.

“That’s not the only giant hole. This hole is huge. So on the way down, there’s more holes, all the way down. I’m zig-zagging, in and out,” she said.

Ponce says the road conditions have gotten worse with the recent rain, but she said Southern has always had its problems.

“This has been going on for a long time and the holes just keep getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

The City of Rio Rancho declined an on camera interview, but a spokesperson told KRQE News 13 via email, to fix Southern Boulevard from NM 528 to Rainbow Boulevard would cost about $72 million.

Right now, the city has a yearly budget of about $57 million, with 80 percent of that budget going to city employee salaries.

In other words, there is no current timeline or plan to fully repair that 2 mile stretch of road anytime soon.

“They need to find a way to come up with the money to fix these things because it’s a safety issue,” Ponce said.

The city plans on doing some patch work on the existing potholes, but Ponce says those fixes are not good enough.

“Throw some asphalt in there, and a few weeks later, they’re already breaking off, chunks. It’s not a permanent fix, it’s just temporary which lasts a week or two,” she said.

The city will begin construction on another part of Southern Boulevard from NM 528 to Golf Course. That will start this summer. It will address roadway improvements, lighting, bike lanes and traffic signals.

The city says it will fix the existing potholes within the next three weeks.

They encourage drivers to report any road repairs to their online system, Report Rio Rancho.

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