ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A downtown Albuquerque neighborhood is a muddy mess right now, with detour signs everywhere. But the Water Authority wants the public to know, this is a good sign.
“It’s unusual to have the roads with so much mud and the closures going on for, I don’t know, it’s been a while,” Anne Tropeano of Albuquerque said.
Water Authority trucks have been hitting the pavement now for weeks. On Silver, from 11th to 14th Street in downtown, the Water Authority is replacing 1,800 feet of decades-old steel water lines with more durable PVC pipe.
“Spending about $1 million a year on water line replacement,” David Morris, a Water Authority spokesperson, said.
Right now, some people say they’re frustrated with their neighborhood being covered in mud to the point they can’t see the street in some places.
The Water Authority says it’s a way to be proactive to avoid an even messier situation down the road, replacing old water lines before they burst, which is cheaper and less of a headache than waiting until it’s too late.
The Water Authority is still aiming to set aside $76 million a year to take care of infrastructure projects with more focus on preventative work.
“We’re still working toward that. We expect to be there within the next couple of years. We’re up in the [$60 million range] now,” David Morris said.
While the detours and muddy spots should be around for another week, locals say they appreciate the attention to making necessary fixes in their historic neighborhood.
“I really appreciate the older neighborhoods and their character, so I like that the city is paying attention to this neighborhood and trying to improve it,” Anne Tropeano said.
A couple of years ago the agency said it would cost almost $2 billion to replace all the pipes around the city that are aging. They did not have a new estimate on Friday.