City nears permanent fix for downtown floodwater retention pond

More than a decade after a flood washed through downtown Albuquerque and the nearby Martineztown neighborhood, the city is close to a final solution for stormwater drainage. 

Albuquerque city officials will present their plans to the public Thursday for a permanent retention pond near Lomas and Broadway. 

The permanent pond and a new pump station are slated to go in at what’s now a dirt lot on the corner of Broadway and Marble. That pond would replace the temporary one that city built years ago at the northwest corner of Lomas and Broadway. 

The temporary pond was built after a bad July 2006 flood in Martineztown where several homes and properties were inundated with water and mud. 

“We need a bigger retention pond, we need a new pump station, we need a bigger area to store the water when it does rain,” said Johnny Chandler, spokesman for the Albuquerque Department of Municipal Development. 

The plan, so far, calls for a $15.7-millon project to go behind the Starbucks and Carls Jr. at Broadway and Marble. Project plans call for a pond with greater capacity, decorative walls around the pond and a new series of water pumps to help move stormwater faster.  

“(It’s) a critical piece for storm drainage, especially in downtown Albuquerque, and it’s a critical piece to project the infrastructure in which we have here,” said Chandler. 

Downtown’s flood water eventually goes into the North Diversion Flood Channel. However, the current pumps that service the water transfer are more than 60 years old.  

During heavy rains in 2014 and July 2018, the temporary pond at Lomas and Broadway filled to capacity quickly, while the old pump house struggled to evacuate the water built up in it. 

The current setup usually means the intersection of Broadway and Lomas floods, while nearby Martineztown homes remain at risk for flooding. 

The hopes the new project, which has a near-final design, can change all of that. 

“We’ll be moving on this project as quickly as we possibly can with the goal of hopefully getting something started at the end of this year.” 

The city will be presenting plans for this new drainage pond at a public meeting Thursday, March 7 inside the Albuquerque City Council Chambers at City Hall. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. 

City officials say there are about $10 million set aside thus far for the $15.7 million project. The city is hoping to get much of the rest of the funds for the project from voter-approved bond funds and the state legislature.

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