ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A congested connection between Rio Rancho and Albuquerque could see a major widening project if voters give their approval.
A small, two-lane stretch of Albuquerque’s Westside Boulevard is earmarked for $5 million in bond funds as part of the “Street Bonds” package on the November ballot.
The city is looking at widening Westside Boulevard between Golf Course Road on the west and State Highway 528-Coors Bypass to the east.
The street is a major connector for Albuquerque and Rio Rancho residents and workers in the northwest mesa area. Today, the stretch of road under consideration is lacking. The roadway has a sidewalk on one side, one lane in each direction and no bike lanes between Coors Bypass and Golf Course.
In the afternoon, neighbors say they’ll consistently see cars backing up on Westside Boulevard, waiting for cars to turn into the Seven Bar neighborhood. Meanwhile, cars trying to get out of the neighborhood often have to wait several minutes to take a turn.
“This is the choke-point,” said Carol Manzanares, a nearby neighbor.
The project has also been on the mind of Albuquerque City Councilor Cynthia Borrego, whose district represents much of the northwest mesa.
“We need our entire road network to function properly,” Borrego said in an interview with KRQE News 13 on Friday. “If we’re not even dealing with the traffic that we have now, then we’re not doing our jobs.”
If the city gets the funding for the project, the planned Westside Boulevard expansion would widen the roadway for all types of road users.
“Expand the roadway to four lanes, two in each direction, we’ll have some retaining walls, some walkways and some bicycle lanes, curb, gutter, median,” said Borrego.
The city is planning to expand the roadway into an existing vacant dirt area on the north side of Westside Boulevard. Borrego thinks the project should make a big difference for neighbors.
“What’s happening is a lot of people are cutting through residential streets to get home,” said Borrego.
Neighbors like Carol Manzanares think an expansion may be worth it.
“I believe it will really help and it won’t be as hard or difficult to turn left or right when you’re coming out of the neighborhood,” said Manzanares.
If voters approve the Street Bond question in Tuesday’s election, which includes the money for Westside Boulevard, the Federal Government is offering to match the city’s funds with another $5 million.
Borrego says at this point, $10 million is estimated to be enough funding to complete the project. Construction could start in 2021 and the project would likely take a year to finish.