City councilor proposes fast-tracking interchange project

Traffic and Roads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a road project that many residents on the Southwest Mesa say needs to happen soon, but a metropolitan planning organization doesn’t have it on their priorities list until 2040. Now a city councilor is proposing to fast track it.

It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot out at the intersection of Dennis Chavez and 118th Street. But one of the largest high schools in the region, Atrisco Heritage, is located on the southeast corner, and over the years, hundreds of homes have been built.

“The Anderson Heights Master Association has 856 homes in it,” said Natalie Rivera, one of the Association’s board members. For the 100,000 residents of the Southwest Mesa, there are only two ways in and out of the area. Dennis Chavez, a two-lane road that eventually turns into Rio Bravo at Coors, and leads to I-25. “It gets very clogged up with traffic because everyone is trying to take it,” said Rivera.

The other option is taking 98th Street or Unser North to I-40. But 118th Street, west of 98th, is not fully developed. “First-time owners in the neighborhood were promised that by 2025 they would have access to I-40,” Rivera added.

One-hundred-and-eighteenth Street ends just north of Dennis Chavez at Amole Mesa. Residents say they’d like to see it extended north all the way to I-40, giving them easier access to the city. Connecting 118th to I-40 isn’t on MRCOG’s priority list until 2040. Now, a planned subdivision that will have more than 100 homes is expected to increase traffic even more. “Realistically, I’d like to see it before the end of the 2020s, for us to have access to I-40,” Rivera said.

Now, city councilor Klarissa Peña is sponsoring a resolution that if passed, could speed up that process. “Twenty-forty is just too long,” said Peña. She tells KRQE the project would not only fix the traffic issues, but she says it will also create opportunities for new businesses to set up.

“One-hundred-and-eighteenth would open up that market to really be able to have a viable commercial district,” said Peña. The resolution will be heard during Monday night’s city council meeting. A funding source has not been identified.

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