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Construction Coordinated as Much as Possible To Prevent Backups

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — CAN’T THE CITY COORDINATE CONSTRUCTION? Franklin Halasz speaks for many metro-area drivers with that question.

He emails “wouldn’t it be possible to coordinate construction projects so there are reasonable alternate routes? Tying up Montgomery, Eubank, Wyoming and Academy simultaneously just leads to a horrible mess.”

Actually, the city does coordinate road construction projects. It’s a full-time job.

Mark Motsko, who handles information for the city’s Department of Municipal Development, got with DMD construction coordinator Paula Dodge-Kwan, who explains “we do not allow scheduled construction on adjacent parallel streets simultaneously for scheduled work. We also try not to have scheduled construction sites too near each other; however, this time of year there can be conflicts. In addition, the major utilities, Albuquerque Public Schools and various other developments request and need work to be completed to meet deadlines.”

That’s in great part because many entities are trying to get work done when school is out and thus traffic reduced. Many are trying to get projects complete before the big State Fair/Balloon Fiesta/holiday shopping crunch. In addition, many projects require summer’s higher temperatures for materials to set up and cure.

Dodge-Kwan says “the work on Eubank and Montgomery was a Water Authority emergency. As you know, a good portion of the utility systems including water, sewer and natural gas are aging, (and) this is leading to lots of emergency work that can not be scheduled. When it goes, it goes. We do attempt to postpone scheduled work that hasn’t started in the vicinity of the emergency work, but if there is something that has already started, there isn’t much we can do safely.

“The work on Eubank and Academy ended on a Monday, and on Tuesday the work on Wyoming and Harper started. So although they were close time-wise, they didn’t overlap.”

WHEN WILL THE I-40 WORK BE DONE? That question comes from Bill Davis, who called to say the work backs up westbound traffic from the Big I all the way to Coors at night and during the day on weekends.

Phil Gallegos, spokesman for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 Office, explains there were actually two projects, and they were scheduled to avoid rush hours. One project involved work on the bridge over Gabaldon Road, now complete, and the other work on the bridge over the Rio Grande, scheduled to be finished this morning. He says issues with some of the materials delayed the work.

NOW MVD REVIEWS HEALTH PROBLEMS? Bonnie Allison emails that “my friend, age 74, went to get his license renewed. He was told to fill out a form listing his health problems. Then he was given a temporary license until doctors in Santa Fe had reviewed his application. Could you please explain how, when and why this has occurred? I know that many people on the road of all ages don’t belong on the road, for many reasons. However, this seems pretty drastic.”

First, everyone who applies for a license in New Mexico gets a temporary license while their information and photographs are reviewed to prevent fraud.

Second, Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman S.U. Mahesh says “every applicant for a new or renewal driver’s license, regardless of age, must answer the same set of application questions including this medical history question: ‘Do you now have heart trouble, epilepsy, diabetes, paralysis, dizzy spells, seizures, convulsions, lapses of consciousness, addiction to narcotic drugs or intoxicating liquor, or any other physical or mental problem or disability which may impair your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle?’

“Applicants who answer ‘yes’ to the medical question are required to submit the Medical Report form, MVD-10124. The Medical Report form must be filled out by the customer’s physician and returned to MVD. In most cases, if the Medical Report states that the customer is capable of safe and competent driving, all questions have been answered, and all MVD requirements met, the application is approved and the license is issued. In some cases, depending on the specific medical condition, the case may be submitted to MVD’s Medical Review Board for a final decision.”

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Thursdays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; or go to ABQjournal.com/traffic to read previous columns and join in the conversation.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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