ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s not a particularly big Albuquerque road project but it’s left some delayed drivers asking, “what’s up with all the orange traffic cones?”
About a half-mile stretch of Eubank Boulevard between I-40 and Constitution Avenue went under construction in early January, leaving lane closures around the busy intersection of Eubank and Lomas boulevards.
While a lot of drivers have noticed the cones, some aren’t seeing that much work, yet. On the other hand, many drivers are noticing delays.
“Yeah this is crazy!” driver George told KRQE News 13 during the Friday evening commute. “I didn’t expect this, didn’t hear about it.”
Another driver, Brandon, told KRQE News 13 about how he was running behind for work because of the back up.
“If you could honestly call my boss right and explain to him why we’re late, that would help,” said Brandon, who was heading toward the area of Eubank and Candelaria.
What’s happening on Eubank is legitimate construction. Crews are taking out the decorative recycled glass from median to make way for new landscaping.
“We’re actually putting trees and shrubs in, as part of our prototype median landscape project,” said Mark Motsko, a spokesman for the city of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development. “We think (the glass) has gone past its useful life, it doesn’t connect with the rest of the prototype median landscaping we have, one of the most popular programs that the city has.”
The cones are an obvious safety mechanism, as many drivers travel at speeds between 30 to 40 miles per hour or faster on Eubank.
“We put those cones out there to allow people to work within the right of way where they don’t have to worry about dodging traffic,” said Motsko.
However, the city admits that contracted crews may have been over-aggressive with the the number of cones they put out for the level of work that’s currently going on.
“I talked to the contractor this afternoon and we’re going to actually button up some of the traffic controls,” said Motsko.
Drivers should see fewer cones by Tuesday, but work will continue until the beginning of the spring season, so drivers need to stay alert.
“We always want to make sure our contractors and our crews get home to their families at night,” said Motsko.
Starting after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the city says crews will also stop working each day at 3 p.m. in order to clear out of the way for rush hour traffic.
The project is costing about $500,000 and is being paid for with general obligation bond money, which was approved by city voters.