It’s an eyesore and a pain for many Albuquerque commuters. For weeks, a portion of Coal Avenue downtown has been closed for construction, and now people are wondering where and what that construction is.
The road has been closed for nearly three weeks, and with no construction on Coal Avenue itself, many are wondering why the “road closed” signs went up in the first place.
“It’s just so hard to get in and out,” said Yvonne Montoya of Albuquerque.
“It slows us residents down from getting to where we need to get,” said Louise Trujillo, another Albuquerque resident.
The road closure on Coal Avenue between Fourth and Fifth Street has been causing major delays for drivers, and it’s all for the construction of the Zocalo Lofts, which broke ground last summer.
“We hope that this new development will bright light future developments down Fourth Street,” developer Andy Wilkinson said at the groundbreaking. “Ultimately generating traffic and bring prosperity into Barelas.”
The closure is causing congestion, but if you look closer there is no construction happening. In fact, despite the weeks-long closure, they haven’t even broken ground on Coal. It’s a problem Mayor Keller has promised to fix.
“One of the things that’s most frustrating for Burquenos is when you’re sitting in traffic,” Mayor Keller said in June 2018. “You’ve got the orange barrels and nothing is actually happening. We’re going to try to eliminate that at least in city projects.”
However, this project is different because it’s not a city project. It’s a project being completed by Altor Construction and Insight Construction.
KRQE News 13 reached out to both companies to find out why Coal has been closed for so long, but they didn’t return our calls.
The city’s Department of Municipal Development says they approved two permits for the project at the cost of $3,000. One was to tie in sewer and water lines. The other focuses on concrete work and expires Jan. 31.
However, on day 20 of the closure, there’s still no sign of road work on Coal.
“You know it’s like, why don’t you just leave the road alone until you’re serious,” said Trujillo. “If not, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.”
The permit ends at the end of the month, however, the Department of Municipal Development says the road could open sooner if the work gets done ahead of schedule.
When ground was broken on the Zocalo building last year, it was expected to be done by this spring.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Department now says the apartments are slated for completion this fall.