ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An off-ramp along I-25 that’s been known for its headaches and congestion is getting a major makeover. Crews broke ground on the northbound MLK off-ramp this week, but not without concerns from businesses in the area.
“Once the off ramp is completed, I don’t think it’s going to have a major impact on our businesses but during the construction phase, I think the accessibility to businesses that are on Oak Street will be a little more difficult for patients to have access to the building.
Jacqueline Rodgers, the owner of Reform ABQ, has concerns for her Physician’s office which happens to be right in front of a major construction project. The Department of Transportation is closing the northbound I-25 and Martin Luthern King exit. Rodgers believes it will create barriers for her patients needing medical care and could also impact other medical facilities in the area like Presbyterian Hospital, just up the street.
“Also, EMS uses Oak Street quite often throughout the day for access to local hospitals so I think it could impact patient care times by them having to be detoured different routes.”
The decision was based on an I-25 study in 2014 and a road safety audit in 2015. NMDOT says the roads were originally built in the 1970s and says traffic has grown immensely since then. Engineers looking at the ramp determined there was not enough space between the MLK exit and the Lomas exit and often times the area is a hotspot for bottlenecks and crashes. The 3 million-dollar project started this week but Rodgers is already counting down the days until it’s over.
“I think it will help traffic flow, just before there is a lot of congestion in the evening times with people trying to exit the off-ramp and trying to turn on to Tijeras so I think it will alleviate some of that traffic,” Rodgers said. “But during the construction time, I think it will definitely increase congestion and maybe even access to business and local hospitals if they’re not able to get through Oak Street.”
On Oak Street, they’re getting rid of the stop sign by the MLK exit off-ramp and will have three lanes going northbound to hopefully ease congestion.