Ground was broken on the $93 million renovation of the Paseo Del Norte-Interstate 25 interchange on September 5th, but you may not have noticed. Tuesday that will change. Overnight on October 14th barricades will go up and lanes will be blocked as construction shifts into high gear.
According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation the following closures will be in effect by 6 a.m.:
· Westbound Paseo Del Norte will be reduced to two lanes from just before I-25 to the railroad tracks about half a mile west of Jefferson.
· Jefferson Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction just north of Paseo Del Norte.
· The Southbound I-25 frontage road will have lane closures between Paseo Del Norte and Jefferson at I-25.
· The I-25 northbound off-ramp at Paseo Del Norte will have the left lane closed.
NMDOT expects the project to be completed in the winter of 2014. That means local businesses, workers, and residents that travel the area will have about fifteen months of construction to live with.
Governor Martinez said in a September groundbreaking ceremony, “this is truly the people’s project, as it was overwhelmingly approved by city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County voters in last November’s election.” Seventy-seven percent of voters said “Yes” to the city bond measure in 2012. However, many do not support the project.
Last month’s announcement that a traffic signal would be necessary from eastbound Paseo Del Norte to I-25 North was unexpected, and Albuquerque Journal readers were disappointed.
In 2012, The Alibi would not endorse bond measures to fund the construction. The Alibi said investments so far from the city center encourage urban sprawl when improving public transportation would be more responsible. They also pointed out that Paseo Del Norte is a state road and that Interstate 25 is federally managed, so it made little sense for the city to cover such a great portion of the bill for the renovation.
Albuquerque will pitch in $50 million from gross receipt tax revenue bonds along with $5 million from Bernalillo County raised through general obligation bonds, nearly $30 million from the state, and more than $8 million from the federal government, according to the NMDOT.
Those who do not live in or travel to the Westside will still benefit from the improved traffic flow of the renovated interchange, according to the NMDOT. There are about 470 collisions in the area per year. The smoother current of traffic after renovations will also ease the commute for those passing through from other directions.
The NMDOT has set up a hotline for people with questions or concerns about the project - (505) 245-3150 during normal business hours. Text and email updates, as well as a virtual drive through the interchange, are also available through the project’s website www.PaseoI25.com.