BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – If you live in Bernalillo or have driven on U.S. 550 you know the headache it is with never-ending construction. It’s been in the works since 2017 and people living in the area want to know when the project will be finished.
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Leaders with the New Mexico Department of Transportation say the second phase of the project, which started in 2019, has three parts. Right now, crews are working on that last part and are hoping to close out the project before the 2021 holiday season.
“I think we’re getting close to completion we’re finalizing the pavement which is the overcoat. We’re hoping to finish by Thanksgiving and we appreciate everyone’s patience in completing this project,” said Michael Sandoval, the cabinet secretary for NMDOT.
For years, crews have been adding lanes, sidewalks, storm drains, and more. Officials say the project has been a big and difficult one because it’s such a major thoroughfare, crews will continue to work on the paving of turn lanes while keeping two lanes of traffic open. Crews are also working on permanent striping operations.
Residents just want the nightmare to end. “Saturday, I had to go up there. It took me an hour and forty-five minutes with the one lane that was open. It was horrible,” said Diana Valles, a Bernalillo resident.
Some people are so frustrated with the project planning that a petition has started on Change.org for the removal of Secretary Sandoval. There are more than 130 signatures so far.
Secretary Sandoval says he understands people’s frustrations and crews have been doing the best they can. He adds due to lack of staff they were not able to do any night work.
The last part of the project includes the continuous flow intersection at 550 and New Mexico 528, a first of its kind in the state. Come Thanksgiving, the department hopes to spread information educating the public on how to use it.