ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque is one step closer to getting new walking and biking paths near the Rio Grande. Last week, city councilors approved preliminary plans to install trails along the city’s portion of historic El Camino Real.

“It’s an exciting project,” councilor Isaac Benton told the committee last week. It “celebrates our culture.”

The plan has been in the works for some time now. Last July, KRQE News 13 reported that Bernalillo County had launched a website to familiarize the public with the trail’s history. Now, city council has voted to adopt an in-depth concept for designing trails and historic markers in Albuquerque.

The full historic path, called El Camino Real de Tierra Adento, was a main path of travel between Northern New Mexico and Mexico. It was once the longest road in North America, according to the National Park Service.

The plan, in Albuquerque, is to create a pathway that follows the original trail as closely as possible. This could include bicycle paths along Rio Grande Boulevard, a pedestrian bridge from the Rail Yards to South Broadway, a host of other connected trails, and interpretive signs along the way.

The planning document estimates the total project cost could be over $27 million. The vast majority of that would go to creating trail segments. Around $100,000 would go to educational signs and the like.

The City of Albuquerque would pay for about $12 million for its share of the project. Bernalillo County would pay for a similar amount, and other entities, such as the National Park Service, New Mexico Department of Transportation, and others, would cover the rest.

While the city council’s adoption of the plan marks a step forward, there’s no set timeline for the projects, according to Nathan Molina, a policy analyst for city council.