The City of Rio Rancho is looking into a residential road pilot program. One street it identified as a possible test location is St. Andrews Drive. (Gregory Hasman/Observer)

Let’s get it done — Mayor Gregg Hull


The City of Rio Rancho is looking at a new approach to fixing some of its residential roads. 

It is considering a pilot program, which would consist of a mix of mill and inlay on six centerline miles of road.

The city has 68 miles of residential streets that are aging and need attention.

The project would allow Rio Rancho to work on residential roads that aren’t suitable for the Neighborhood Streets Improvement Program (NSIP), which focuses on crack patching and sealing, City Engineer B.J. Gottlieb said at Tuesday’s Governing Body Work Session, adding that federal funding would only cover arterial roads. 

“We need to chip away at those 68 miles of road,” he said.

The city has yet to recommend what streets would be worked on, but the selection process would use three sets of criteria: 

  • Health and safety concerns 
  • Traffic Volume: The city would prioritize areas with heavier volumes. “We’ll probably not look at cul-de-sacs,” Gottlieb said.
  • Would utility service lines be replaced?: “If so, we want to bring those roads up,” he said. “We can tag-team our efforts together and perhaps save money.” 

The program would likely apply to some of the oldest streets in the city, many of which are in districts one, four and five, Gottlieb said. 

The hybrid work would add 16-18 extra years of life to the roads and cost about $900,000 a mile, which would be a 40 percent savings from what it would cost to rebuild it, $1,5 million, he said.  

The city recommended funding the program $5.4 million in its preliminary 2022-23 fiscal year budget, though this figure does not include any potential utility replacements.  

Councilor Jeremy Lenentine asked whether the city should consider adding residential road projects to a future general obligation bond ballot. 

The bond could be an option, but the city engineer advised that people whose streets are not on any list of projects would likely vote against it.  

Councilor Bob Tyler said he appreciated Gottlieb’s efforts in coming up with a creative way to save the city money. 

If the pilot is successful, the city would continue the program and may use general funds or enterprise funds to cover future costs. 

Other projects 

The pilot program is an example of how much the city has been investing in its roads in recent years.

The city has finished 30 road projects since 2016, in part due to voter-approved general obligation bonds. It’s also working on several more, including: 

Rainbow Boulevard: This is the reconstruction and expansion of Rainbow Boulevard, between Northern Boulevard and Southern Boulevard. The work will include two, 12-foot lanes, 6-foot shoulders and bar ditches; asphalt turnouts with dip sections for the existing platted dirt roadways; some curb and gutter; a new 8-foot wide multi-modal trail in the existing Rainbow Boulevard right-of-way between Pecos Loop and Southern Boulevard; the removal and replacement of all existing signs along Rainbow; the addition of new signs as required by the plans; and the installation of a storm drain system. 

The project is scheduled to be completed in June, Gottlieb said. 

Idalia Road Corridor: This is a study and design of roadway improvements of Idalia Road from Northern Boulevard to Iris Road. 

The goal is to accommodate future traffic demands, improve safety, provide various travel options and correct physical deficiencies. This will be accomplished by implementing a multi-modal approach; improving intersections; providing accessible routes and connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists; and upgrading drainage facilities, according to the city. 

This will be funded with money from the city — $200,000 — and the federal government, $1.2 million. 

The city, New Mexico Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration will host a virtual public hearing to discuss the project at 6 p.m. May 4. 

Northern Boulevard: This will consist of the reconstruction and expansion of Northern Boulevard from Acorn Loop to Broadmoor Boulevard including curb and gutter, sidewalk and multi-use path, lighting, storm sewer, sanitary sewer, asphalt pavement, landscaping and pavement marking. The $2.3 million project will be split between the city, about $192,000, and the federal government, $1.128 million). The project is in the design phase.  

A virtual public meeting involving the city, NMDOT and the FHA is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 5.

Riverside Drive: This will consist of replacing the pavement on Riverside Drive from near KPFG Funding Group to outside Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue station three; a waterline replacement; an update to the curb ramps and intersection lighting; the addition of a raised median, median landscaping; and pavement marking. 

Funding will come from city and state money, as well as general obligation bond funds. The project will be going out to bid in the upcoming weeks.

“Let’s get it done,” Mayor Gregg Hull said about the projects, adding that the longer the city waits, the more expensive the work will be.