City plans work on key part of Central

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Route 66 is one of Albuquerque’s busiest, most important roads and a tourism draw all in one.

But just about anyone who’s driven Central Avenue in recent years knows it can get awfully rocky in some sections.

One of the bumpiest stretches is near UNM where Central crosses University.

“This is a very heavily traveled transit corridor and with buses stopping and starting we develop a lot of rutting in some of the intersections,” said Michael Riordan, the city’s Municipal Development Department.

Riordan says there is a plan to bring a smoother ride to a section of Central between University and I-25.

“You take the existing asphalt, you turn it up, you heat it and you re-lay so it’s flat and smooth again,” Riordan said.

That could happen as soon as this summer at the cost of approximately $1 million and would leave the road flat for at least four years. But it’s not an easy project.

“For the same reasons why Central is important to our city is why it makes it hard to maintain,” Riordan said. “When you have so much traffic and so much transit on this corridor it’s very hard to shut down full lanes of traffic at any one time in order to do our repaving.”

The other trick is Mayor Berry’s big plan for a light rail-like bus system, some of which would run on Central. Riordan says the city has to be careful with where it does road projects to make sure it’s not doing work that’s just going to have to be torn up or redone years down the line.

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