ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With Balloon Fiesta just a couple of days away, visitors are expected to flock to the top of the Sandias, for a sweeping view of the city. But this year, they’ll have to plan ahead.
It’s a popular lookout for Balloon Fiesta fans, with many taking the tram to the top of the mountain or making the scenic drive up Sandia Crest Road. But if you are planning to take that route this weekend, you will need to plan accordingly.
“It’s hard to get a crew out there to actually do the work because we have temperatures that we have to meet,” said spokeswoman for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, Kimberly Gallegos.
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Sandia Crest Road is under construction from about five miles from the crest all the way to the top. The road is being milled and repaved, something NMDOT said is desperately needed up there. “The reason we’re doing this work at this time is because this roadway in particular has a lot of winter weather that’s headed our way. And so we’re trying to fix some of the potholes in that area and just the roadway itself before those winter months are upon us,” said Gallegos.
The road was closed entirely earlier this week but will be opening on Thursday with lane closures with the most restrictive closures during working hours between eight and six. “There will be with the pilot car operation and also a flagger. So people will be able to go up and down the Sandia crest through those mile markers with the help of a pilot car,” said Gallegos.
As for planning for Balloon Fiesta, especially for those hoping to catch the eclipse from the crest. “I would just come early I’ve been talking to people on the phone and I’ve been letting them know the earlier the better. There is going to be a hotspot you know at certain times of the day for this area. But if you have an opportunity to go up to the tram definitely try that route,” said Gallegos.
The construction is slated to last until October 29 but the DOT said it could wrap up sooner.