BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – Traffic from 550 construction in Bernalillo is overflowing into Albuquerque as drivers try to avoid the orange cones. The project is expected to last two years.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is hiring someone who can remotely watch the signals and change the timing as needed during high traffic. However, they say what’s going to help drivers the most is patience. Going the long way around on roads like Unser, Alameda and Paseo del Norte may take just as long as the stop-and-go traffic on 550.
“We understand that people are using them but we encourage people to do that,” said Marisa Maez, Director of Communications for NMDOT. “I think they feel better if they’re moving.”
Some of the side streets seeing extra traffic in the mornings are in Albuquerque Councilwoman Cynthia Borrego’s district on the westside. To help, she says it’s causing the city to look at expanding roads like Unser and Paseo in the future, adding in additional lanes.
“So it’s really important that we look at our system, looking at how everything flows together,” said Borrego. “Otherwise, we’re running into these kind of road blocks.”
Another solution, the state says it will add additional cameras along 550 so drivers can check on traffic to plan their commute. Although, we did not get a timeline on when we can see those.
State transportation officials say traffic isn’t their only worry. They’ve already had a number of reports of frustrated drivers throwing things at construction workers on 550. They’re urging drivers to be patient and kind.
To help in the meantime, NMDOT is offering up a ‘Keep Moving 550’ website where you can sign up for daily construction and traffic updates. The website also offers direct points of contact to send in any questions or concerns.