Buried in snowplow requests; ramp transitions are tough - Albuquerque Journal

Buried in snowplow requests; ramp transitions are tough

WHERE ARE THE PLOWS IN TIJERAS? Amy Bechtel asks that in a pre-Christmas holiday email, saying “I’ve lived near Tijeras for 22 years, 6 miles south of the Tijeras exit from Interstate 40. My neighborhood is accessed via Ramblewood Boulevard. When I first moved here, the snowplowing was great. It happened every day when there was snow to clear, including Sundays and holidays. … I had no worries about my safety when going down the very steep S-turn on Ramblewood.”

But.

“For the last few years,” Amy says, “unfortunately, a choice has been made to NOT plow our roads on Sundays and holidays. … A few years back I needed to go somewhere on Christmas Day. There was only about an inch of snow on the ground and it looked safe enough. It was NOT safe. Because the road had not been plowed, a layer of black ice had formed beneath the snow. I entered the downhill S-turn at 1 mph. Although I am experienced at driving on snow and ice, I lost control and went into a skid that very nearly caused me to go over a cliff. I was just lucky that there happened to be a tree in front of the cliff for my car to smash into. It cost thousands of dollars for the car repairs, and I could easily have lost my life that day.”

Amy says this Thanksgiving, “many people in my neighborhood got stuck, many slid off the road, many got into wrecks. After my Christmas experience, I knew better than to try to go out, but that meant that I was completely unable to enjoy an important family holiday.” In addition, “there are medical emergencies, too, on those days, and without plowing, an ambulance cannot get to us.”

COUNTY DOES PLOW WEEKENDS, HOLIDAYS : Antonio E. Jaramillo, director of Operations & Maintenance for Bernalillo County, says “Ramblewood is in the East Mountains and Bernalillo County does have maintenance responsibilities along this roadway and other roadways within the subdivision. This particular roadway has our priority one designation, which means that we will address this roadway first in a snow event.

“As you can imagine,” Jaramillo continues, “Mother Nature does not discriminate on which days she will allow it to snow, and neither do we. We have our area foreman on call every day of the week, and in cases when we know ahead of time that we will get snow, we have our employees on standby so we can get them out right away. In any case, we do plow snow all days of the week and even on holidays. Our area foreman is out on the roads in most cases beginning around 3 a.m. assessing roadways and setting deployment schedules for the crew, who usually get in around 4 or 4:30 a.m. Of course, this is all dependent on the snow event and if some areas got hit harder than others.”

FOR MORE INFO/TO REQUEST PLOWING : To see if your road is on the county’s plow list, check out Bernalillo County Road Priorities for Snow Removal at ipgr.maps.arcgis.com.

Jaramillo adds that “if snow plowing is needed, we encourage our constituents to contact our contact center at contactcenter@bernco.gov or via phone at (505) 848-1503. We appreciate the patience and understanding of getting to specific areas, as we are experiencing staff shortages and have to pull from other areas to ensure that our roads are addressed.”

TOUGH GOING ONTO HIGHWAY RAMPS: A ndrew Horwitz asks in an email “whose responsibility are the transition areas between the city streets and the freeway on/off ramps?”

The root of Andrew’s question is “driving east on Comanche just west of Interstate 40 … the right-hand lane feels as if the road has collapsed. Dangerously rough transitions are also found at the Sixth Street on-ramp to eastbound I-40 and the eastbound ramp at Second and Paseo. Something needs to be done; who is responsible?”

Kimberly Gallegos with New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 Office says crews looked into this and “are going to schedule work to assist with this issue. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.

 

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