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Rio Grande to be smoothed out at Alameda

IF THEY HAVE TO PAVE SECOND CAN THEY DO IT RIGHT? Meanwhile, Peggy Everett emails “I have recently driven on the resurfaced Second Street between Paseo and Alameda. It is very bumpy and not at all like a resurfaced road. It feels like the overlay is not thick enough and you can feel every crack underneath as you drive along.”

Peggy adds she feels “the quality of the work done was so poor that it was worth bringing to your attention.”

David Mitchell, director of the county’s Operations and Maintenance Department, took a trip out and “looked at it. (It is) what is called ‘microsurfacing,’ which is a … system of fine rocks and oil-emulsion that ‘cures’ in about 15 minutes to the point that traffic can drive on it.”

By contrast, repaving known as “slurry seals … take about four hours to set up.”


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The Second paving project “was not intended to do anything except to fill in the very rough texture of the old surface. It also has the characteristic that it will flow into what were the ‘ruts’ of the old wheel paths, and kind of provide a self-leveling function.”

Mitchell says that “it may not seem like it’s much smoother, but it is to the extent that it can make up the difference of about a ½ inch high or low, but won’t substantially change the ride quality. The north maintenance crew spent a couple weeks patching areas that had sunk mainly so the road will drain to the gutters prior to this treatment.”

And while “Second is not beautiful,” Mitchell says the rehab makes it “almost purely functional, and it costs about 1/10th of a milling job. If Second were structurally having trouble, it may have been up for a heavier treatment, but this will give Second about five more years of life before something like that needs to be funded. It is still a solid road. We’re buying time and saving taxpayer dollars. Pretty will come later.”

AND WHY IS RIO GRANDE/ALAMEDA SO ROUGH? Another caller points out the pavement is very rough on the turns on Rio Grande at Alameda.

Mitchell says the county has done some quick patching but more repairs are in the works. What’s on the road “is a 5/8 inch top surface that is popular with the New Mexico Department of Transportation called OGFC – Open-Graded Friction Course. It’s appropriate for roads signed over 40 mph. It doesn’t last so long as the base asphalt, so it wears off in spots.”

Mitchell says the county will “hire out someone to grind about an inch off and then have our guys take our new laydown machine out to put about 1.5 inches back of standard asphalt. It will last much longer as a wearing surface. Our Special Projects crew … will get it by late summer. They’ll have to do a little more patching until then.”

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858 or