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letters, opinions, editorials

re: I-25 renovation between Tramway Road and Bernalillo

On September 2, 2009 a group of Bernalillo residents met with Larry Velasquez, District Engineer for the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT). The meeting was held at the request of Jack Torres and other residents to address growing concerns in the town regarding the recently started renovation of I-25 between Tramway Road and Bernalillo.

One of the major questions was why the renovation (expansion to three lanes) was stopping just south of exit 240 (south Bernalillo) rather than at exit 242 (north Bernalillo), which would be much more logical considering the daily traffic. Lack of communication has led many to speculate that perhaps there was a plan to also connect I-25 to Highway 528 with a new crossing through south Bernalillo.

When asked that question, Mr. Velasquez responded that there is no plan to build a new river crossing anywhere through Bernalillo. He also responded that the project to expand I-25 to three lanes has been in the making for many years and the decision to stop south of exit 240 was based on budgetary constraints. He also stated that Phase II of this project would carry the expansion to exit 242 (north Bernalillo). This phase, he stated, is in the 2011-2012 budget, however he stated that the project would be ‘accelerated‘ and expected bidding of this phase within six to nine months. In addition, he anticipates a ‘redo‘ of the interchanges at exits 240 and 242 in budget year 2014.

A number of other issues were raised by residents, ranging from questions about utilizing speed humps as traffic calming measures to questions on the ever-worsening traffic on Highway 550. A heads-up issue for Bernalillo residents is a push by some of our neighbors to the south to restrict semi-trailer traffic on the Alameda Bridge. Beware, Bernalillo—if this effort should succeed, guess where that semi traffic will end up? The citizens of Bernalillo need to be ever vigilant.

DOT has said they will not build another river crossing through Bernalillo. That‘s good news. However, as regional issues that have a major impact on us arise, we must come together as a community. We need to be proactive. We must develop an outlook that not only addresses our current needs, but provides a long-term solution to our problems. Today, those issues surround us due to our proximity to Albuquerque and Rio Rancho. We cannot be the “easy” solution to regional problems. We must insist that Bernalillo be treated with respect, and play a major role in the decision making on those issues that impact our community.

—Jack Torres, Bernalillo


 

re: no passing zones on Highway 165

Dear Mr. Ortiz,

This past week, the line painters laid down new lines from just east of I-25 to about Mile Marker 6 on Highway 165 after the repaving.

This time, the paving job looks good, in contrast with the last time, a few short years ago, when it was evident right after the paving that the highway was going to fall apart, which it did. Did the taxpayers pay for two paving jobs instead of one?

In any event, the painters painted a double yellow line for the aforementioned six miles, with no passing zones at all, when there had been about seven or eight before. Who suddenly decided that there would be no passing zones, and why? The line painters painted beyond the new pavement and what is evident immediately is that there are quite a few passing zones between the turnoff to Placitas Heights and the village of Placitas. Is there that much difference between those sections of road? Did some bureaucrat make a unilateral decision to end passing on that stretch, even though there are several quite appropriate areas on the six-mile distance between Placitas Heights and I-25 where passing can be done safely?

Often there are timorous drivers going very slowly on Highway 165, and some people are speeding. Will these double lines—no passing zones—somehow mysteriously make everything right? If there is no minimum posted speed, and no turnouts where the really slow drivers can pull off to let average-speed drivers get where they are going in a timely fashion, how is it right that there is no passing allowed?

Perhaps the line painters were just mistaken, though I doubt it, for all the passing and no passing signs are missing. I anticipate that there will be quite hostile driving by people stuck behind the slowest drivers. Of course, the Sandoval County Sheriff will be happy, as they patrol this highway like sharks on a feeding frenzy, but many decent drivers will be seriously inconvenienced by this action.

I would appreciate a response to my inquiry. Thank you.

—Stephen Feher, Placitas


 

Rock & Roll! -Bill & Vickie

re: Happy Hour for Desert Mountain folks

The attached photos are from the October Desert Mountain Happy Hour, hosted by Fred and Shirley Sanders. Originally conceived and proposed by Ms. LJ Chapman, the Happy Hour is held the second Friday of every month. Each month a new host/hostess provides the beverages and the guests bring appetizers. All Desert Mountain folks are welcome. The name Happy Hour derives from the fact that the event is brief—6:00 to 8:00 p.m.—so that folks can get on with their Friday evenings. The event is not normally themed, but, as shown in the pictures, in honor of Halloween, costumes were encouraged. No awards were given, but honorary mention, for service above and beyond, should be made of Bill Wilhelm. For want of some Brylcreem, he slicked his hair back with Crisco. (We hope you managed to get it showered out by now, Bill.)

—LJ Chapman, Placitas

 

     

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