ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor wants to put the brakes on a big upcoming road project.
It’s the Alameda “widening” project from Edith Boulevard to I-25 that’s expected to begin in 2019.
While it would help more than 35,000 drivers get across the river each day, City Councilor Brad Winter thinks adding lanes to Alameda, in one area, will create a bigger problem.
Alameda Boulevard is one of Albuquerque’s major river crossings. It’s also a key east-to-west path that drivers don’t look forward to taking.
“In the morning time and the nighttime, it’s a nightmare,” commuter Danny Rael said.
“God forbid something happens on the other bridge crossings,” driver Jeffrey Howard said.
For years, the city has planned to take the four-lane road from I-25 to Edith and add two more lanes, making it six lanes across Alameda.
“What some of the studies have shown, it’s not where the interstate is, down to Edith; it’s from Edith to Coors where you get most of the congestion,” Winter said.
However, widening Alameda from Edith to the other side of the river, near Coors, would be up to Bernalillo County. County officials tell KRQE News 13, as of right now, they have no plans to add any lanes to try and ease traffic.
The county said for the last two years it has implemented its own traffic signal program on its portion of Alameda. The signals adjust to how many cars are on the road in real time in order to keep traffic moving.
Monday, Winter introduced a bill that would halt the city’s $8.1 million widening project.
In part, Winter’s proposing, “a moratorium on the addition of…travel lanes on Alameda Boulevard from 500 feet east of Jefferson Street to Edith Boulevard.”
“The city has a federal grant that would allow us to make it three lanes (in each direction) from the interstate to Edith, but neighbors are very concerned about that,” Winter said. “For one thing, it creates a ‘choke point’ for the rest of Alameda. They’re absolutely right. What good does that do?”
Residents, in the past, who live in the North Valley have also raised concerns about the increase in traffic Alameda could see if the city and county decided to widen the road.
So Winter is proposing that the city, along with Bernalillo County and Rio Rancho, study the 4-mile stretch before making any changes to portions of the road. It would be a “major investment study” that would look at Alameda as a whole from Jefferson Street to Coors Boulevard.
“How do we make this corridor so that everybody is involved, [so] there is lots of public input and so we don’t create an issue,” Winter said.
Winter introduced the bill Monday, so no decisions have been made.
The city still doesn’t know if Bernalillo County and the City of Rio Rancho are willing to get on board with the study.