Business owners and tenants along Frontage Road in the Rio Rancho Industrial Park are miffed at the city over a sewer line project they say is cutting deeply into their business.
On top of that, they say, the city gave them no advance notice.
Construction began Dec. 12 at the intersection of Frontage Road and Industrial Park Loop and continues to the end of Frontage Road. The work isn’t expected to be finished until March.
According to the city, the project will lay new sewer lines and add an additional eight sewer service connections to the city’s sewer infrastructure.
Rich Weinbrecht, owner of Crossroads Motorcycles, said no business in the industrial park area was notified of the project before construction began.
“When it first started last week, I thought something was broke and they had to fix it but then when it continued all week in the same hole and then I saw they weren’t even working on Saturday or Sunday — I called the city at the beginning and said, ‘What the heck?'” he said.
“This is just somebody totally dropping the ball,” he said. “Good luck with them trying to get gross receipts this month from the people in this (area). They just killed us.”
City spokeswoman Annemarie García said advanced notification on projects depends “on the type and scope of that particular project.”
She said the city’s website had information on the project and that signs were also placed to notify the area.
“Based on the input the city received from this project, going forward, more direct and advance notification, via multiple methods, to those impacted by a project will be something the city does,” Garcia said.
That doesn’t help the situation now, some industrial park tenants say.
On Friday, the project blocked both lanes in front of Sunrise Veterinary Clinic on Frontage Road, across from Rockaway Boulevard and N.M. 528.
Larry Challenger, owner of Zoey’s TLC Bed and Breakfast for Dogs and Cats, said construction has prevented most drivers from gaining easy access to his business.
“This particular period is like our Black Friday, between the Christmas and New Year’s season, when we probably do as much as we do in any other time of the year as far as business goes,” he said.
Aaron Force, assistant pastor with Cavalry Church Rio Rancho, said the church has reached out to the Rio Rancho Police Department to help guide traffic before and after the weekend services, saying the project has limited access to the church’s parking entrance.
“It will probably be tough with our Christmas Eve services because that’s one of our biggest turnouts of the year and that’s this Saturday, so we’ll have to see how that goes,” Force said.
District 6 City Councilor Dave Bency said he has listened to concerns from businesses in the area, saying there should have been better communication on behalf of the city about the project.
“The communication between the city and the businesses was non-existent,” Bency said. “This is terrible.”
Jim Clark, owner of West Mesa Forestry and Garden, said although he understands construction projects are necessary, he was concerned about the safety of drivers in the area.
“I’m right up here close to Quantum (Road) and these big old concrete trucks and block trucks trying to come up that little hill, get up onto NM 528 and drive across over to head south — it’s just an accident waiting to happen,” Clark said.