MONTGOMERY SPEED CAM NEEDS POWER: TN asks in an email what’s going on with the Automated Speed Enforcement camera that had been on westbound Montgomery between Wyoming and Eubank.
Rebecca Atkins of the Albuquerque Police Department reported back in October that the Montgomery camera was being repaired after minor vandalism damage. Four months later, Atkins says “since the Montgomery camera was removed due to vandalism, the city decided to reevaluate the camera along that corridor. It was decided to not replace the camera with another portable device but rather a fixed device. As fixed devices and security to monitor them need power, the city has been working on locations where the fixed device can be placed in order for them to function properly. There are multiple stages in the process of getting the cameras fully operational, and that takes time.”
And because the city is trying to deter more vandalism, Atkins says it “is taking extra steps to ensure the security of the future camera along Montgomery. Although we do not have a definite timeline as to when it will be in place, the hope is by summer.”
GUARDRAIL DEMOLITION DERBY: Take a drive down Interstates 25 or 40 or any of our state highways and you can’t help but notice damaged guardrails and scraped walls.
Kimberly Gallegos, who handles information for the N.M. Department of Transportation’s District Three Office, says the district “maintains 3,168 lane miles (that) encompass Bernalillo, Valencia and portions of Sandoval counties. Guardrail is an important safety feature to the roadway system. It is primarily composed of durable materials such as steel and designed to absorb the impact of collision and redirect vehicles back onto the roadway. In the event of a collision, it assists to slow down vehicles that are traveling at high speeds, with the purpose of reducing severity of a crash or protecting from roadside point hazards. Overall, guardrails play a critical role in maintaining road safety.”
THOUSANDS OF FEET DAMAGED: Gallegos says last year “there were approximately 132 damaged guardrails that required repairs or replacement in the District Three area. Crews replaced over 6,080 linear feet of guardrail. Most of the damaged guardrail was a result of a crash.”
WHAT GOES INTO REPAIRS: And while “DOT prioritizes guardrail damages and schedules timely repairs, some of the damaged guardrail only needs a few parts for repair, while other (sections) need a complete overhaul,” Gallegos says. “Components for guardrail are susceptible to supply-chain issues just as is any other commodity nowadays. The full install of a new guardrail can take anywhere from a few hours up to a half day. All repairs and replacements are done on site, usually with exposure to high-speed and high-volume traffic.”
MOST FREQUENT CRASH SITES: So where is the guardrail most-often crunched in a collision? Gallegos says “some high-impact areas that are repaired are U.S. 550, I-25, I-40, N.M. 45 (Coors) N.M. 423 (Paseo del Norte) and N.M. 500 (Rio Bravo), all of which are areas that require driver decisions where lane weaving is heavy and excessive speed by drivers is an issue.”
AND THEN THERE ARE THE CONCRETE WALLS: Beyond guardrails, what about all those concrete walls with scrapes and missing chunks?
Gallegos says “in 2022, 12 repairs were made in (the area of the Big I) due to concrete wall barrier and concrete bridge railing damaged by traffic. In total, 462 linear feet of concrete wall barrier or concrete bridge railing was repaired.”
WHAT IT COST TAXPAYERS: Repairing and/or replacing all that guardrail ran up a tab last year of “roughly $291,035 including labor, equipment and materials,” Gallegos explains. “Repairs are supported by expenditure of state road funds appropriated by the New Mexico Legislature to NMDOT District Three and are completed by contract staff and NMDOT staff to keep roadway systems in a state of good repair for drivers. DOT asks for the traveling public’s patience when repairs are being made, by slowing down and moving over in consideration of the men and women completing these repairs.”
And slowing down and moving over could limit drivers using guardrails and concrete walls like bowling alley bumpers.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; email@example.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.
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