There are a few things that you can always count on; death, taxes and road construction. As Rio Rancho constantly expands, orange barrels have become a constant presence in the City of Vision. Repaving, repairing, and widening roads presents hazards within the construction zone and well beyond it. These projects can cause traffic snarls, road rage, and—especially when drivers are attempting to speed—collisions. From 2015-2019, there were an average of 782 traffic-related deaths in construction and maintenance work zones. Here are the latest road construction sites to know about in Rio Rancho—and a few tips about how to drive safely in these zones.
Rio Rancho Road Construction Updates
New Mexico 528 will be under construction between mile marker 8 and 10 (Southern and Northern) through March 2022 during the day as workers perform maintenance and improvements. Drivers should expect various lane closures, shoulder restrictions, and, inevitably, delays.
On U.S. 550 at the Rio Grande Bridge (mile markers 1 to 2), construction will be ongoing through August 2022 during the day. Lane and shoulder restrictions are all part of these U.S. Highway maintenance and improvement efforts.
On Westside Boulevard, a collaborative project between the City of Albuquerque and City of Rio Rancho is widening .85 miles of the connecting artery between the two cities. By the end of the project, the road will go from two to four lanes between N.M. 528 and Golf Course. The project will also add dedicated left hand turn lanes at a handful of intersections along Westside Boulevard, including at Golf Course Road, 7-Bar Loop, Sierrita Road, and Grande Boulevard. The project is expected to wrap up in March 2022.
New Traffic Flow
In November 2021, Rio Rancho unveiled an innovative traffic solution with the state’s first continuous flow intersection. The intersection’s design aims to keep cars from having to stop when traveling certain directions. It’s meant to ease traffic congestion by keeping cars moving. Traffic lights for the east and westbound lanes are farther back from the main intersection, thus increasing the turn lanes’ length. The intersection was under construction for two years. At least one accident took place there in the early days as drivers adjusted to the new traffic flow.
Driving Safely in Construction Zones
It’s important to follow posted speed limits through construction zones. Here’s why you should slow down:
During construction projects, traffic lanes may be narrower than usual. It’s more difficult to navigate these narrow lanes at high speeds.
Traffic patterns may change temporarily while work is ongoing. The path you take through the construction zone one day may be different than the one you follow the next. Slowing down can help you spot these changes and adapt accordingly.
There may be unexpected hazards through the construction zone that require you to stop abruptly. That can increase the risk of a crash—particularly if your car or those around you are traveling faster than the speed limit.
Here are a few other ways to stay safe while proceeding through construction zones:
Increase your following distance. If you encounter unexpected obstacles—a falling orange barrel, a worker crossing the lane of traffic, etc.—you’ll have more time to stop before causing a collision.
Be on the lookout for and follow instructions from flaggers. Assume the flaggers’ instructions override any other traffic signals or posted signs because they have the most current information about how traffic needs to move.
Minimize your distractions. When proceeding through a construction zone, you’ll be asked to follow posted signs or the instructions of flaggers, and traffic may move in unusual patterns. You need to have your senses on high alert to respond quickly and safely.
Merge promptly when you encounter lane closures. Lane closures commonly cause traffic accidents. When you see an upcoming lane closure, merge as soon as it’s safely possible. Forcing your way into the next lane at the last moment will not only upset the other drivers (even causing a road rage incident), it can also be dangerous.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you’ve experienced a traffic collision in a construction zone and are seeking representation, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys, for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve.