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Not all freeway construction can be done at night

SHOULDN’T FREEWAY WORK BE DONE AT NIGHT? That question comes from Dave Venus, who emails, “I was caught up in the massive traffic jam on eastbound Interstate 40 due to bridge work at 12th Street. … Why wasn’t this work done at night? For one thing, it would be cooler. Secondly, there’s less traffic. What were they thinking? Or were they thinking at all?”

About the bridge work, yes. A big-rig breakdown, no.

Phil Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation District 3, says, “Yes, we were thinking. That portion of the bridge being repaired was the longest/biggest part of the operation requiring more time and effort. Unfortunately a semi truck broke down just before the work zone, blocking a lane and creating a huge backup that would not clear out once formed. Now that this part of the repairs is complete, the remainder and more manageable work will be done at night.”

CAN I GET REIMBURSED FOR MY MANHOLE-BLOWN TIRE? Carmen Armijo called to ask that question after she hit what first looked like a can on westbound Zuni near Aztec. Traffic meant she couldn’t change lanes safely, and before she knew it, she says, her tire was toast.

After getting help to get it changed and replaced, and picking up a small 10-pound cover from the driving lane so another motorist wouldn’t have the same problem, she wondered if there was a way to get reimbursed for the replacement, considering she still owes the $40 the re-tread cost to the shop and she’s a senior citizen on a tight budget.

Turns out she can.

David Morris, public affairs manager for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, says a crew went out after he learned of Carmen’s tire, found it “was actually a valve cover, which we checked and replaced (that) afternoon.”

That way there’s also not a hole posing a hazard.

Morris says, “If you get any other calls on stuff like this where our assets are involved, you can refer people to our claims administrator, CCMSI, at 837-8700.”

YOU CAN’T DRIVE IN THE BIKE LANE, BUT YOU CAN CROSS IT: Al Stevens called to ask for some help spreading awareness of city laws regarding sharing the road.

He says he has noticed most drivers seem so “afraid to drive in the bike lane” that instead of doing it correctly (city Ordinance 8-3-3-13 states that “no person shall drive or operate a motor vehicle upon or across a bicycle path or lane except to cross such path or lane when turning as permitted”), they don’t do it at all. He says he just wants to help “facilitate the flow of traffic.”

A noble goal, especially considering state law considers bikes actual traffic.

But more on how to make that turn. City Ordinance 8-3-3-12 states: “Whenever a motorist is turning across a bicycle lane or path, such motorist shall maintain a proper lookout for bicyclists and shall yield the right of way to any bicyclist traveling in a bicycle lane or path and, prior to turning right, shall merge, if practicable, into the bicycle lane to his right, if any, before the start of the turning movement.”

WHY DON’T THE JAIL AND SHELTERS HELP WITH STREET NUMBERS? That from Martha Cushing, who called in response to readers’ concerns about finding reputable folks to add addresses to curbs.

She says getting nominal donations for the work was a practice in Austin and helps everyone involved.

TWENTY-TWO ROAD DEATHS IN JUNE: That’s according to NMDOT and the University of New Mexico. Fourteen of the wrecks were in vehicles, four on motorcycles, three on foot and one on an all-terrain vehicle.

Alcohol was a factor in seven of the deaths; none of the people killed on motorcycles or the ATV was wearing a helmet, and of the 107 people killed in vehicles this year, just 34 were buckled in.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858 or road@abqjournal.com.

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