The Rio Rancho City Center will soon be more accessible to drivers traveling along US 550.

On Thursday, city officials expect to open the 3.4 mile extension of Paseo del Volcan. It will extend the road from Iris Road to US 550.

The road will consist of two lanes and will meet with US 550 in a T-Intersection, Jamie Murrafo, project manager, said.

The project cost around $18 million, he said.

The traffic signals at the reconstructed intersection of Iris Road and Paseo del Volcan will display a flashing yellow arrow indicating a left turn is allowed, but drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians, Peter Wells, city spokesman, wrote in a press release.

"The Federal Highway Administration has adopted the flashing yellow arrow left-turn traffic signal as a new national standard where there is a separate left-turn arrow signal," Wells wrote. "The addition of the flashing yellow arrow for left the result of the successful operation of the signal over the past several years in locations across the United States, and a nationwide study that demonstrated the signal prevented crashes, moved more traffic through an intersection and provided additional traffic management flexibility.

The new signal will be part of a four-arrow signal display that includes:

• Steady red arrow: Stop, no left turns allowed.

• Steady yellow arrow: Prepare to stop, or prepare to complete left turn if in the intersection.

• Flashing yellow arrow: Left turns allowed but must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

• Steady green arrow: Left turns allowed and protected.

The road has gleaned a considerable amount of attention this year.

In August the New Mexico Transportation Commission approved the designation of Paseo del Volcan as a state highway.

While residents still haven't gotten used to it, it took on the name NM 347.

The route will begin at the I-40 interchange and continue in a northerly direction to the Unser Boulevard intersection.

The route will end at the intersection of US 550 in Rio Rancho, ultimately spanning a distance of 29.6 miles.

A public ribbon cutting ceremony for the Paseo del Volcan /NM 347 extension will take place on Thursday at 11 a.m. on the corner of Paseo del Volcan and US 550.

By noon on Thursday city officials expect the road to open for motorist use, Wells wrote.