ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Drivers traveling Northbound on I-25 near Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue are going to be seeing some changes in the next month. The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is closing an off-ramp calling it obsolete.
By August 9, NMDOT will shut down the MLK exit ramp. They will extend an auxiliary lane on I-25 past the closed ramp so that traffic merging onto Lomas has more room. “It didn’t meet the criteria that we needed in order to accommodate this flow of traffic. And not only are we closing the ramp, we are doing improvements to the frontage road below,” says Kimberly Gallegos, District 3 public information officer for NMDOT.
These decisions came from a study on I-25 in 2014 and a road safety audit in May of 2015. Gallegos says the roads were originally built in the 1970s and says traffic has grown immensely since. Engineers looking at this ramp determined there was not enough space between the MLK exit and the Lomas exit—only 810 feet when the desired length is about double. Gallegos says where the off-ramp meets Oak Street has become a hotspot for bottlenecks and crashes.
Drivers who regularly use the MLK exit say they think this will cause a lot of initial confusion for drivers. “I hope whatever they’re planning to do will be less traffic, but I don’t know, you know. You really don’t know how that’s going to go. We’re talking about Albuquerque drivers,” says Albuquerque resident Abner Sapiens.
On Oak Street, they are getting rid of the stop sign by the MLK exit off-ramp and will have three lanes going Northbound to hopefully ease congestion. The cost of this project will be around $2.9 million. NMDOT expects the MLK exit project to be completed by December.