ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In the city’s quest for a railroad walking trail through downtown, crews are now moving forward with some of the first big changes. That includes an overhaul of a notorious stretch of sidewalk on Central. It’s one of the first legs of the proposed Rail Trail bike and walking path. Eventually, the city wants a 7-mile loop connecting downtown to the Sawmill district, Old Town, and Bosque.

The underpass at First and Central is where city crews are now working even closing down the sidewalk that currently goes under the railroad. “We are solving a problem we have had for one of our underpasses here that’s been a haven for crime and illegal activity,” said Terry Brunner, the Director of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Department.

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Eventually, the underpass sidewalk will be completely eliminated. Instead, the city is building out a new ramp on each side of Central, changing the underpass from a dangerous dark tunnel to an open-air crossing over the railroad tracks for the multi-million dollar trail project.

“For this particular portion, we think we are well funded. We’ve raised about $39 million total for the rail trail. We hope we can use some of that on this portion,” added Brunner.

The city also mentioned on Thursday there will be two new pedestrian bridges going on either side of the tracks. But first, they’re ‘investigating’ the area through some demolition work under the bridge which will also mean some aesthetic changes to Alvarado station. “I suspect the arches are going come down in first half of 2024, complete construction of the crossing at the end of 2025,” said Jennifer Turner, the Deputy Director of the Department of Municipal Development.

The city added the public can expect to see temporary fencing along the area within the next few weeks. Demolition work could start in a month. The city said they’ll be doing work in the sawmill area next.