BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a busy road that sees a lot of construction and now, more is on the way. Starting Monday, drivers can expect delays on the bridge over the Rio Grande in Bernalillo, as the state starts a seven-month rehabilitation project.

“It’s heavily traveled but this will be a little portion compared to what drivers saw in our last major project,” said Kimberly Gallegos, District 3 public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

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Starting January 3, NMDOT will start a rehabilitation project on the southern part of the Rio Grande Bridge on Highway 550, between Santa Ana Road and Sheriff’s Posse Road. During the project, the far-right, southern lane will be closed leaving two lanes of traffic open.

“All access will be maintained to the residents and businesses,” said Gallegos. “For commuting hours, just give themselves a little extra time to get to where they’re going.”

The project will rehabilitate the bridge decks, which require joining the two east-bound bridges and removing the longitudinal joint, according to Gallegos. The construction comes after NMDOT just wrapped up a major interchange project down the road. The interchange project brought the first-of-its-kind intersection to 550, aimed at keeping traffic moving without having to stop at a signal.

“Many drivers want to know why the bridge rehabilitation project is taking place on the heels of our last project or why they couldn’t have been done simultaneously,” said Gallegos. “The answer is, during the previous project, crews discovered the need to rehabilitate a portion of this bridge but the finding was unexpected and it didn’t fit into the scope of the other project.”

NMDOT also said working on the bridge now is ideal since river levels are at their lowest. It also said the timing of the construction will minimize the impact on migratory wildlife in the area.

“We realize it will once again impact travel but safety is our number one priority and we need to make sure the bridge is safe for the traveling public,” said Gallegos.

Crews will work on the project from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The project is expected to be completed by July 2022. Gallegos said the project costs $2,066,152.