ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  One major section is complete, and there are another two to go. Crews are wrapping up two years of work on a stretch of Bridge Boulevard. Next, they’ll start working on a busy section that has been tormenting drivers for years.

It’s been more than a decade since the county first took on this project. They didn’t start construction until 2020, and now they’ve knocked out one of the big jobs.

“It was just awful. The roads were awful, the pavement was off of balance and everything. So it was pretty bad,” says Joe Martinez, who lives off of Bridge Boulevard. Folks living along this busy stretch of Bridge between Coors and Goff are looking at the orange traffic cones that line it with relief. Martinez remembers heavy traffic and unpleasant views here. “There was potholes everywhere and stuff like that. But that’s beautiful! The way they’re doing it? That’s beautiful,” Martinez says.

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This area, or ‘Phase One’ of the Bridge Boulevard Corridor Redevelopment Plan is nearly finished. Along with more traffic lanes on Tower, there are also new sidewalks, bike lanes, and medians on Bridge. The price tag for this project is $21 million. By August, the project engineer says they hope to have ‘Phase Two’ underway. “The phase two limits is the westside of the Barelas Bridge which crosses the Lura River all the way to Young Avenue which is just on the other side of Isleta,” says Jason Clark, project engineer for the Bridge Boulevard Corridor Redevelopment Plan.

It’s a half-mile stretch Clark expects to take a year to redo. But, drivers beware: if you thought phase one congestion was bad: “This one will actually be worse cause we’re so close to the river crossing right there at the bridge,” Clark says. Crews will, in part, tear out the asphalt and rebuild the storm drains to keep water from pooling up in the area.

It’s a good thing that they started here that way they could have more experience down there because there’s a lot more traffic down that way,” says Alvaro Garcia, who lives off of Bridge Boulevard. “It’s more to go help the businesses and just the people to have pride in their area where they live at and you know make sure that we are addressing every part of the county,” Clark says.

Some feel the project is already doing just that: “To me it brings up the whole concept of what the South Valley is,” Martinez says.