U.S. 550/N.M. 528 OPENS WEDNESDAY: The state’s first continuous-flow intersection opens Nov. 10, and work on the two-year rebuild is scheduled to be essentially done before Thanksgiving.
According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, “new traffic signals on U.S. 550 are placed farther back east and west of the intersection. A green light on the signals will allow traffic headed south on Tamaya Boulevard or north on N.M. 528 to make a left-hand turn and safely cross oncoming traffic, which will be stopped at red lights. Motorists will then navigate into new lanes on the far left side of U.S. 550 eastbound or westbound. Traffic heading north on N.M. 528 will be able to turn right and head east on U.S. 550 without having to stop at the intersection.”
NMDOT encourages drivers “to view video demonstrations at the U.S. 550 project’s website, www.keepmoving550.com.”
And in a news release last week,project officials acknowledged that the project was originally scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2021, but said that “unmarked underground utilities, supply chain shortages and other unforeseen circumstances caused delays.”
BRIDGE WORK: Meanwhile, Jesse Cloud writes, “I just read in the Sandoval Signpost that when the current 550 project is complete a new project will begin. The new project will revamp the two bridges across the Rio Grande, replacing a joint and making the two bridges into one. … How can they do this to us?”
The November Signpost article says that according to NMDOT, work “rehabbing the older U.S. 550 bridges over the Rio Grande is to begin this month and extend into July.” It says the $1.3 million project “will upgrade the older bridge decks, replace an existing joint, and rejoin the structures to create what will appear to be a single six-lane bridge at street-level.”
KIMMICK ON A “DIET”: In anticipation of crews expanding Paseo del Norte from Calle Nortena to Rainbow Boulevard and Unser Boulevard from Kimmick Drive to Paradise Boulevard, the city just re-striped Kimmick to discourage cut-through traffic and speeders.
It’s called a road diet, and it often involves narrowing the driving lanes “to improve safety, slow traffic and provide space for other modes of travel, like bicyclists,” according to a city news release.
The new striping, from Rosa Parks Road to Unser, “includes two bicycle lanes and decreases the vehicle travel lanes to two, a single lane in each direction.”
City Council President Cynthia Borrego says, “We met with neighborhood leadership to discuss the options to improve the road’s safety and limit the excessive cut through traffic.” The $7,737.50 project was paid for with City Council District 5 set-aside general obligation bond funds.
VISITORS LOVE OUR ROADS: Carla Ward says in an email, “A positive note about some of my interaction with visitors to New Mexico. Here at Tinkertown Museum we have folks from around the country, and on many occasions this year I have had the pleasure of hearing what delight tourists are finding in driving on our roads and highways. I have heard comments and kudos about the backroads of the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway and Enchanted Circle to the Big I and I-25 and I-40 interstates.
“From Ohio to Colorado, New York and Pennsylvania, people have commented on the road conditions. I just wanted to pass this along and to give a shout-out to our fair state of New Mexico!
“New Mexico is on everyone’s radar these days. I think we can look for a big surge in visitors turning residents. Our secret is out!”
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.