ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The headaches began nearly two weeks ago when construction began on overhauling the Paseo del Norte-Interstate 25 interchange.
Commuters heading west now can expect the gridlock to get worse.
Orange barrels went up Thursday night creating a bottleneck right where drivers exit I-25 northbound for Paseo del Norte. It essentially squeezes five lanes of traffic into just two.
The bottleneck lasts for about 100 feet before widening to four lanes just south of Paseo Del Norte. It gives drivers two left turn lanes to westbound Paseo, a right turn lane to eastbound and a northward through lane for the frontage road to the I-25 on ramp or to Alameda Boulevard.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation said this new configuration gives two lanes back to traffic off I-25 from an initial closure, and since there are four lanes at the intersection, she doesn't expect traffic to be terrible.
"It's not going to be a nightmare," NMDOT spokesperson Melissa Dosher said. "It goes along with construction projects, and the outcome of this is going to be a lot better
"People are going to be able to access eastbound Paso much easier, so this needs to be done as part of the project."
Dosher did say traffic on the frontage road in this area will be most affected, as those vehicles now have to yield to drivers exiting I-25.
On Paseo eastbound from the frontage road the right lane to the turn lane to the Target shopping center is also closed for construction.
Dosher said these closures are indefinite as crews construct triple right-turns to eastbound Paseo del Norte.
The $93 million interchange project could take up to two years, though the contractor has estimated it will only take 14 months.
More from KRQE.com: Metro traffic map and alerts » http://www.krqe.com/traffic Paseo/I-25 project coverage » http://www.krqe.com/paseo-project
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