ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Typically construction projects throughout the metro are halted during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta but there seems to be a lot of lane closures throughout the city this week. Those projects are causing congestion on some of the city’s busiest roads, during the busiest week of the year.
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“It’s very crazy because the Balloon Fiesta is here and everybody is crazy,” said Yunett Garcia Guzman. She’s describing the traffic in her northeast Albuquerque neighborhood.
Two of Juan Tabo’s Northbound lanes between I-40 and Lomas are blocked off for an ongoing project. Garcia Guzman says mixing Balloon Fiesta traffic with the ongoing construction is a nightmare. “There’s been a lot of traffic, and there’s a lot of accidents,” said Garcia Guzman.
KRQE News 13 asked the city why this project along with construction at Tramway and Copper, and another at Coors between St. Josephs and Montano isn’t being halted for Balloon Fiesta week. They say they didn’t institute a construction moratorium this year.
“We are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we very much want to continue keeping the economy going,” said Johnny Chandler, a spokesman for the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Metropolitan Development.
Even if there was a moratorium, Tramway, Juan Tabo, and that portion of Coors wouldn’t be included in that suspension. Chandler says the roads included in the moratorium are chosen based on where the city believes the most amount of people are going to be.
The city says they will be reinstating a construction moratorium for next year’s Balloon Fiesta because they’re expecting even larger crowds for the 50th anniversary. Balloon Fiesta is only one occasion when the city implements a construction moratorium. The others are New Mexico State Fair and the holiday shopping season.