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Red headlights, roundabout leaks and car seats

THIS ISN’T A RED HEADLIGHT DISTRICT: Suzan B. emails “We have seen in the last couple of months vehicles with questionable headlights. The first one we saw was at night and the car had “red” headlights. We thought there was a car driving backyard toward us. The second one was during the day, and that vehicle had headlights with rotating colors. This cannot be legal? Of course, if not, the police have to catch them first.”

An internet search turns up that “the only color headlight that is legal to use in any state is white,” although there are shades of white that range from blue to yellow.

N.M. statute 66-6-835 states, with some specific exceptions:

“B. No person shall drive or move, upon any highway, any vehicle or equipment with a lamp or device thereon displaying a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the vehicle or equipment. …

“C. Flashing lights are prohibited except … on authorized emergency vehicles, school buses, snow-removal equipment and highway-marking equipment. Flashing red lights may be used as warning lights on disabled or parked vehicles and on any vehicle as a means of indicating a turn.

“D. Tow cars standing on highways for the purpose of removing, and actually engaged in removing, disabled vehicles, and while engaged in towing any disabled vehicle, may display flashing lights. …

“E. Only fire department vehicles, law enforcement agency vehicles, ambulances and school buses shall display flashing red lights visible from the front of the vehicle.”

WATER LEAK COMPLICATES ROUNDABOUT WORK: Last week’s column included information on utility work scheduled though May in advance of a roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria. And in the following days that utility work got a bit more complicated.

Wally emailed last week to ask “what’s happening on 12th Street between Menaul and Matthew? The road is closed. I can’t get home! Two northbound roads closed and Fourth Street is backed up to Downtown. Twelfth Street was on the detour plan, and now it’s closed too? Help.”

David Morris, public affairs manager for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, reported “regarding 12th and Menaul, the Water Authority had to do an emergency water line repair on 12th at Phoenix, and this was causing traffic-flow problems related to the Rio Grande/Candelaria detour, which relies on 12th Street.

“There was also some private sewer line work being done in the area by a plumbing contractor.”

The 12th Street emergency water line repair was wrapped up Monday. Then a water line blew on Griegos.

CWA Strategic Communications sent out an alert Friday announcing “the waterline break on Griegos NW has been repaired. The street was repaved Friday afternoon” and the road re-opened over the weekend, with “the detour for waterline relocation work at Rio Grande and Candelaria … restored to 12th Street and Griegos.”

WITH MORE DETOUR SIGNS NEEDED: Also last week, callers reported inadequate signage for the detours – and because many of the neighborhood streets are dead ends, many drivers were in a pickle.

Morris replied “with respect to missing/deficient detour signs for Rio Grande/Candelaria, I drove the area myself (Tuesday) morning and requested additional signage based on my observations.” He planned a drive-through that afternoon to ensure they were up.

AND SOME DRIVER’S ED: Suzan adds “Albuquerque drivers do not know how to navigate the roundabouts and won’t be learning how unless they are new drivers getting licenses for first time. I have almost been hit three times at Northeastern and Lester NE. I enter the roundabout and halfway round the other cars enter without stopping at the yield signs. One vehicle was a city SunVan.”

FREE CAR-SEAT CLINIC TIME: Next week, Wednesday, March 13, the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Safer New Mexico Now will host a free clinic so drivers can ensure the car/booster seats they have installed are 1.) installed correctly and 2.) have not been recalled.

Trained technicians will be in Sandia Resort and Casino’s southeast parking lot – between C6 and C8 – from 5-6:30 p.m. Bring the car/booster seat and, if possible, the child who uses it so technicians can double-check fit.

For an appointment, call (505) 856-6143.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M. 87109-4360.