Rio Rancho flooding creates challenges for city

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – When the rains come to certain areas in Rio Rancho, bulldozers and city trucks will not be far behind.

Thursday night, parts of the city got up to 2-inches of rain. It’s a problem people there have been dealing with for more than a decade — dirt roads that desperately need to be paved.

Crews in Rio Rancho were out all night Thursday and Friday morning, dealing with an all too familiar problem. So why haven’t these roads been paved? Because voters won’t approve money for it.

In the Rio Rancho neighborhood off 528 and Alcona Circle, water was everywhere.

Resident Larry Garcia showed KRQE News 13 some of the damage after the storm. He says it’s all preventable, and city leaders along with developers started the problem years ago.

“They had a ditch here, they took the ditch out and filled our covert full of dirt,” he said. “Now the covert doesn’t work anymore.”

Driving around in the area, there are multiple ditches that are almost knee-deep — not exactly the safest driving conditions.

“Each time we bring it up, at first people are really enthusiastic. Then they look at the price and they decide not to,” Garcia said.

The problem has been going on for more than a decade — since back when the city incorporated parts of developments on 528, Unser and Loma Colorado that were built on dirt roads.

The city is trying to get the roads paved but can’t afford to, and voters have not passed bonds to cover the cost.

Rio Rancho has made multiple attempts but can never come up with the money, so instead, they come out every time it floods to fix the dirt roads and drainage ditches.

Larry Garcia is still hopeful the city will fix the roads.

“I do think it’s fixable. The city needs to lower the road and put some new coverts in,” Garcia said. “We’ve had some other bad ones, but this was the worst since 2006.”

The city of Rio Rancho has 120 miles of roads it’s looking to pave, which would cost millions of dollars.

The city is considering a few ideas, like taking a surplus in their budget and putting it into the city’s paved road repair fund, and increasing residential impact fees.

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