Rain nearly washes away Rio Rancho roads

Stuck car
A car stuck in deep mud after attempting to brave rushing water on a road in major need of repair.

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – While a relentless storm overnight ended up leaving lots of water across the metro area, the rain left bigger problems for drivers out near Rio Rancho.

Northern Boulevard near 10th Street NW ended up shutting down for several hours Tuesday morning. Sandoval County Public Works reopened the road before noon but the road now has major damage that might not be fixed for a long time.

While neighbors living close to Northern are getting used to big puddles that stick around for a while, they’re tired of seeing damage to their only main paved road into town.

“You’ve got chips of stuff just flaking right off there,” said Sal Treppidei while holding a piece of asphalt in his hands.

Treppidei is one of many who live in the northwest of Rio Rancho who are bothered by cracking pavement on Northern Bouelvard near Rainbow. Another heavy rain overnight sent a torrent of water over the road which runs right through an arroyo.

“Water literally rushing like a river down here,” said Treppidei.

For the second time in six months, the water took chunks of asphalt out of Northern Boulevard.

One driver in his 20’s tried to pass through it early in the morning. His Mustang ended up washing down the road, getting buried up to the wheels in mud.

Treppidei believes the road has lost about a third of its width. With the road getting slimmer, Sal and other neighbors are concerned.

“This is the only way, the only paved road in and out of this particular area,” said Treppidei.

“And if someone has a medical emergency there’s no way to get to them,” said Mike Mosher, another neighbor living near the arroyo.

Neighbors even called out Rio Rancho city councilor Chuck Wilkins on Tuesday to get him to take a look. Many of the neighbors effected by the road live just within the Rio Rancho city limits.

“See if we can’t get this going, try to get this fixed,” said Wilkins.

Neighbors say the county has tried to fix the area over the last few months by moving a lot of dirt, but it hasn’t worked.

“Six months ago, when we had the flood, the county built a couple sand berms to divert the water and these berms were about 18 feet high, 25 feet long, and there were four of them. They’re all gone now,” said neighbor Mike Moser.

Neighbors are hoping the county will raise the road so that it goes over the arroyo, much like Southern Boulevard, which crosses the same arroyo further to the south.

However, Sandoval County says the money isn’t available right now to fix Northern Boulevard. Until the drainage issue is fixed by the Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority, the county says it won’t be repaving the road either. After the latest flood, the road is now only wide enough to let one car pass at a time.

“It compromises livelihood, it compromises and even threatens people’s health depending on the situation. It’s just a bad situation,” said Treppidei.

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